March 2016: Material Handling Mastery
One of the standard suggestions for preventing back injuries is to use material handling aids rather than lifting manually. But nothing is risk-free, including dollies, hand trucks, and even ropes and strapping. So it’s vital to know and follow safety procedures that can prevent back injuries and keep the loads from falling and causing injuries.
Dollies and Hand Trucks
Here are a few safety rules for getting a job that uses a dolly or hand truck off on the right foot.
1. Select the right truck-one that’s the right capacity and shape for the load.
2. Use safe lifting techniques to load-let the legs, not the back, do the work.
3. Put heavy objects on the bottom.
4. Position the load forward over axles so the truck, not the handles, carry the weight.
5. Secure bulky, awkward, or delicate objects to the truck.
6. Be sure operator can see over the load.
7. Push, don’t pull, so the truck does the work.
8. Keep load ahead when going downhill.
9. Keep an eye out for other vehicles, obstructions, and edges.
Material handling is often made easier by securing items with ropes. Again, it’s important to understand how to select and use these aids.
1. Match the rope to the job. Ropes made of manila and nylon are usually toughest; stiff, yellow sisal ropes are less strong in comparison.
2. Test rope strength with a small item before use.
3. Inspect rope before each use. Replace rope if it has broken fibers or if it breaks by hand, looks dry, or won’t stretch.
4. Don’t kink or drag rope or let it freeze.
5. Store rope in a dry area after cleaning it.
Steel and Plastic Strapping
Straps are another good aid for bundling and securing materials. Their biggest hazard is their sharp edges. Here are rules that must be followed to use strapping efficiently and safely.
1. Be sure straps can handle the planned load.
2. Wear personal protection equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, and gloves.
3. Make strapping taut – not too loose or too tight, and no dangling ends.
4. Cut straps with proper cutters, not hammers, pry bars, screw drivers, etc.
5. Don’t lift by strap unless it’s designed for that purpose – the strap could break and spill the load.
6. Dispose of used strapping promptly, carefully, and properly – it can become a serious trip hazard.
Another material handling aid is the conveyor. But it must be used only by trained, authorized workers-who must follow these safety rules.
1. Travel around a conveyor system – never over or under it.
2. Keep loose clothing, body parts, and hair safely away from moving conveyor parts.
3. Know where emergency stop switches are-and how to use them.
4. Don’t try to ride a conveyor – or let anyone else do so around you.
5. Be alert to materials that could fall from conveyor belts or rollers and stay clear.
For more information on loss control services contact Jeff Rausch, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, P: 502-708-3124 www.RMSC.com
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