Skip to main content

Material Handling Tips

By February 22, 2016August 22nd, 2018

When your employees are moving bulky or awkward loads on the job, remind them of these material handling tips to avoid injuries.

  • The best way to handle boxes or cartons 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.

Beyond these basic material handling tips, the following precautions are recommended while handling materials on the job:

  • Employees should wear work gloves to protect their hands during tasks. Gloves can prevent cuts and scratches, and many types also provide a better grip. Most work gloves are ventilated for comfort, so there is no excuse not to wear them.
  • If you must conserve space in individual work areas, do not allow employees to pile items too close to a wall or column. Instead, ensure they provide proper clearance at the top and on all sides of piles for safety.
  • When employees need to pile materials, 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 chocked to prevent serious injuries.
  • Good housekeeping is critical. All items that are dropped need to be pick up right away. Tripping and slipping hazards could put all your workers at risk for a slip, trip or fall.
  • Before lifting, make sure employees remember to make sure there are no obstructions or slippery spots on the route they intend to travel.
  • Demonstrate how to lift loads properly – use your legs, not your back and shift your feet rather than twisting your body when you turn.
  • If a load is so bulky it cannot be grasped properly or seen around it, your team should always seek help in moving or lifting it.
  • Remind employees that taking shortcuts on the job to save time can mean skinned knuckles or pinched fingers. These are instant reminders that something was done incorrectly.

It is often the simplest material handling shortcut that leads to injuries. If you need help with developing a safety plan or would like training materials to support your ongoing efforts, please contact Tiffany Passmore at The Flanders Group.  Call 800-462-6435 or email [email protected].