Safety in factories is paramount—here are some material handling tips for factory workers.
This week our friends from Quality Scales Unlimited are contributing to our blog. Quality Scales Unlimited is a company that “sells all types of scale equipment, from highly sensitive lab scales to heavy capacity truck scales.” (Learn more about them here). Given their knowledge of proper protocol on the factory floor, we were more than happy to accept their proposed blog post. So, with further ado, here is their guest blog on material handling.
It is common to see workers handling or moving materials in a factory. However, if it is not done right, it will result in accidents, pain or handling ailments like repetitive strain injury. The dangers of improper handling, storing or moving materials are plenty. Let’s learn how to avoid them.
Safety While Moving, Handling or Storing Materials
- If the workers are moving the materials manually, they should take help if:
a) the load is too heavy,
b) when they cannot see around or
c) cannot handle the load safely.
- You must meet the weight regulations of trucks and forklifts to make sure they move the materials safely. Weighing scales like a floor weighing scale can help you avoid overloading the vehicles and ensure safe floor operations.
- To prevent the fingers from getting pinched, handles should be attached to the loads.
- Observe height limitations when you stack the materials.
- All the workers must wear personal protective equipment while moving, storing or handling the materials.
- The stacked loads must be piled and cross-tiered correctly.
- Keep the storage areas from materials that can cause tripping, explosions or can harbor pests like rats.
- Stack the bar stock, structured steel and all cylindrical materials to prevent spreading. The boxed materials must be held in place using cross-ties.
- Equip employees working on stored materials in hoppers, silos or tanks with safety belts and lifelines.
- Post the load limits approved by the building inspector in all storage areas.
Ergonomics of Material Handling
Ergonomics refers to the layout of the work space – its design, and how, where, why materials are kept. These include safety devices, controls, function of workstations, displays, lightning and tools to fit the employees’ physical requirements.
An ergonomic factory will minimize the risks to the employees’ health and ensures their well-being. It includes changing the workspace conditions or restructuring to make the workspace better and easier for the workers. The aim is to avoid repetitive motions that can cause injuries or traumas.
You may have to change the way workers can lift and move objects or reduce the materials’ size and weight. For instance, you can install lifting equipment or train the employees in the right lifting techniques.
Along with the material handling training, provide them basic safety training too. These include practices like always keeping the aisles clear while moving materials or fire safety precautions.
Provide Employee Hazard and Safety Training
If materials are not handled properly, there will be hazards. It is important that the employees learn how to recognize them. Organize training programs that teach the workers everything they need to know about materials handling, storing and safety.
Some things to include in the training:
- Workers must be aware of what they can handle comfortably without straining themselves.
- Workers should be able to identify different dangers associated with lifting materials without having the proper training.
- Recognize the physical factors that can contribute to an accident and being aware of risks of lifting improperly.
- Teach them how to use handling equipment and handling aids such as shoulder pads, platforms, stages and handles properly.
- Teach the workers about basic anatomy of the muscles, spine and where the body will feel pressure while lifting materials
- Show the employees how they can avoid unnecessary physical strain and stress.
- They must be aware of their body’s physical limitations and lifting capacity.
- Train them to use safe lifting postures for smooth lifting and how they can minimize load-moment effects.
Hold regular safety meetings so that the workers stay updated of the precautions. Encourage them to have an honest conversation if they face any problems or feel any pain while moving or lifting the materials.
Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.