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Material Handling

transporting cargo and heavy boxes safely

Material Handling

Moving bulky items on the job? Then you need to keep safety in mind! Consider these material handling recommendations to avoid injuries as you work.

The best way for handling boxes or cartons with materials is to grasp the far side top and bottom corners. Long pieces of pipe, bar stock or lumber should be carried over a padded shoulder with the front end held high to avoid hitting other employees. Also, exercise special caution when rounding corners.

It is also very important to use the right tool for the job. Do not attempt to use your fingers as a pry, a wrench for a hammer or a screwdriver for a chisel.

The Basics

Beyond these recommendations, take the following precautions while handling materials on the job:

  • Wear work gloves to protect your hands during tasks. Gloves can prevent cuts and scratches from materials, and many types also provide a better grip while handling them. Most work gloves are ventilated for your comfort, so there is no good excuse not to wear them.
  • Conserve space in your work area, but do not pile items too close to a wall or column. Instead, providing proper clearance at the top and on all sides of piles is necessary for safety.
  • When materials are piled after handling, they should be in stacks that will stand steady. Sometimes this means the materials must be crisscrossed or interwoven with corrugated boards. If objects roll while stacked, they should be choked to prevent serious injuries.
  • Pick up items that you drop on the floor. Tripping and slipping hazards could put you or your co-workers out of work for a long time.
  • Before lifting, make sure there are no obstructions or slippery spots on the route you intend to travel.
  • Use your legs, not your back, to lift loads properly. Shift your feet rather than twisting your body when you need to turn.
  • If a load is so bulky you cannot properly grasp it, or you cannot see around it, always seek help in moving or lifting it.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts on the job to save time. Skinned knuckles or pinched fingers are instant reminders that something was done incorrectly.

Safety Takes Teamwork

It is often the simplest shortcut that leads to injuries. That’s why we’re counting on your practice these simple safety tips to stay out of harm’s way.



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