June is Safety Month in North America, and to raise awareness for workplace safety, Refresh Leadership will be highlighting five areas of focus for organizations in all industries. For the final week of Safety Month, we are covering manual material handling safety.
Safety Month: Manual Material Handling Safety
There are several risks posed by manual material handling. The most common reported injuries involve strains and sprains, while the most frequent injuries occur to the back, hips, neck, shoulders, and knees.
Companies should use caution when placing employees in material handling roles by providing specific guidelines to protect them.
The first thing to consider is where the object is initially picked and then set down. The ideal safe height to lift an object is between a person’s waistline and shoulders, within one foot of their body. If an employee is required to do a lot of bending down to lift or lifting above their head, that could cause serious strain to the body and potentially injury to the worker. Another notable risk is repetitive movement. If an employee is twisting and bending frequently, even with a small object, that can cause more strain and soreness on the body, which could lead to a serious injury.
If there are frequent lifts, workers should switch stations every 30 minutes to an hour and receive frequent breaks to put less stress on their bodies and reduce the chance of injury.
Materials should not be carried over any distance without mechanical assistance. Take inventory of any tools available to help assist them with moving material and be sure to train them properly on items like dollies/hand trucks, pallet jacks, wheeled tables, and hoists. These tools can be very beneficial to a worker by doing the majority of the work and eliminate the strain on a person’s body.
Check out the other Safety Month articles:
What does your company do to raise awareness to safe procedures in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section below!