- Material handling is often considered the most serious safety problem in the nation.
- Manual handling accidents consistently account for at least 1/3 of all mining accidents.
Manual Handling of Materials
- Obtain help (human or mechanical) and/or split heavy loads if possible.
- Use wide stance and bend your knees (but not deeply). Keep load close.
- Keep back straight and as vertical as you can. Lift slowly with leg power.
- Avoid bending over with knees straight and lifting with upper torso.
- Also avoid twisting, jerky movement, and reaching out with load.
- Maintain good posture when standing, walking, sitting, or driving.
- Take breaks/change position often when standing, sitting, or driving.
- Lean on something and/or prop up a foot when standing.
- Consider back exercises to improve strength and flexibility.
Mechanical Handling of Materials
- Inspect forklifts at beginning of each shift. If damaged/defective, remove from service until repaired.
- Watch for potential struck-by and crushed-by dangers.
- Keep forklift loads low when traveling. Keep speed low, and keep load uphill on grades.
- Maintain safety equipment. Dont make unauthorized modifications or exceed capacity.
- At loading docks place an appropriate dock plate; be sure brakes are set, wheels chocked and/or dock lock in use; inspect floor of trailer; and place a jack stand under "nose" of trailer if it could tip.
- Inspect hoists frequently and thoroughly, and abide by load limits.
Stacking and Storage
- Practice good housekeeping, and keep aisles, passageways, and work areas clear.
- Secure stacks by limiting height, stepping back layers, interlocking rows, cross-keying, banding, cross-ties, shrink wrap, flat material between tiers, blocking, chocking, and using racks.
- Follow fire safety precautions in storage.