Materials Handling Safety Policy

An Effective Materials Handling Safety Policy

The cornerstone to a safe workplace is an effective material handling safety policy. A comprehensive safety policy set in place by the management lays down proper safety procedures for workers to follow, which leads to fewer accidents and injuries. Apart from having a safety policy, strict adherence and implementation of the policy is equally important. So let’s find out how you can create such a policy at your workplace.

An effective workplace safety policy consists of three aspects:

  1. Engineering Controls: The first part of workplace safety is engineering controls aimed at preventing injuries and simplifying the job. Engineering controls and changes sit at the core of material handling, allowing for efficiency and safety. These are meant  to make the workplace more ergonomic and safe. For instance, tweaking the workstations in a way that reduces the need for manual lifting while providing better ergonomic conditions for the workers is one way to do that.

Another engineering control would be to replace manual lifting with appropriate material handling solutions, wherever possible. For example, installing an air hoist where heavy objects need to be lifted repeatedly would minimize stress on the bodies of employees.

Upgrading your old and worn out equipment is also a good way to make the workplace safer. Thus inspecting your material handling equipment regularly is a good idea. Frequent preventative maintenance of material handling equipment is another way to ensure that it functions properly.

  1. Administrative Controls: The second aspect of your safety policy should be administrative controls that are used to minimize the risk of injuries. These should have well laid-out procedures that enable workers to perform their tasks in a safe way. For instance, providing mandatory training to employees who work with material handling devices on the safe and proper use of the same is one way to do that. Additionally, inculcating ergonomic material handling practices for manual lifting can also reduce the change of Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD).

Identify ergonomic risk factors and minimize them by establishing control measures to limit employees’ exposure to those risks. These risks include assuming stressful or awkward postures like bending and twisting to lift heavy materials, engaging in sudden and jerky movements and lifting loads from the floor or while seated.

  1. Work Policies and Practices: The third part of a good safety policy is workplace policies and practices that prevent material-handling injuries. These policies and practices aim to establish safe material handling practices. For instance, a set of rules for operating a forklift properly can raise the safety quotient of your workplace. These can include speed limits, lane discipline, and safe loading/unloading practices.

Moreover, the management must encourage all workers to promptly report signs of fatigue or discomfort, so they can respond swiftly and implement measures to avoid fatigue giving way to injuries.

Lastly, provision of personal protective equipment such as eye-protection, steel toed boots, gloves, etc. is a must for employees dealing with material handling equipment and heavy loads. 

Sticking to these workplace safety controls will ensure a safe workplace with happy and motivated workers. Check out material handling equipment for enhanced workplace safety here.