Materials Handling Guide

Material handling can be a major source of occupational injuries whether the work is done manually or with mechanical assistance. Jobs that involve manual, mechanical or repetitive handling present the highest risk of injury.

Summary of Requirements
Material handling requires careful consideration of many factors including the area of ergonomics. Every job that involves manual, mechanical or repetitive handling should have a job analysis performed to determine how worker injury can be minimized.
Most back injuries that occur on the job are a result of poor lifting technique. Lifting and carrying objects should be designed out of jobs whenever possible. When lifting cannot be avoided, employees should get assistance with heavy and awkward object. The risk of injury can be reduced by staying in good physical shape, planning the lift and removing all obstacles, getting a good grip, getting load close to the body and lifting with the legs. Avoid twisting the back and lifting a load above shoulder height. Lower the load carefully, again bending the knees and keeping the back straight.
Training
Each department is required to provide adequate training to all employees who are susceptible to material handling injuries. This would include proper lifting techniques, proper adjustment of workstations and specialized training in how to use material handling equipment on the job. OSHA specifies that employees involved in the following materials handling operations must receive training:
  • Powered industrial trucks
  • Cranes
  • Powered platforms
  • Servicing multi-piece rim wheels
Inspections
Mechanical equipment: both frequent and periodic inspections must be conducted of powered industrial trucks and cranes.
Recordkeeping
All training sessions and inspections should be appropriately documented and maintained by the individual departments. Training sessions should have a sign-in sheet. Proof of required training should be maintained in the employee's personnel file.
Applicable Regulations

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