Safety is very important in the material handling industry. The tasks that your employees need to perform on a daily basis such a lifting and carrying can open them up to many different types of injury. Not only is this a bad thing in its own right, it can also lead to expensive medical costs and loss of productivity in the workplace.

By maintaining high safety standards and employing best practices across your operation you will be doing all that you can to prevent any injury to your team. Coupled with effective training on how to use equipment and the correct way to manually move heavy items you will have a workforce that is safe and feels cared for.

1. Effective training

It is possible to do the bare minimum when it comes to training, something as simple as sending out a letter or email with the information your employees need to know. While this may allow you to check it off your list of things to do, your employees probably haven’t read it at all. For any safety training to be valuable and help prevent an accident or injury it needs to be delivered in the right way. He message and best practices need to be followed up on and there need to be consequences for those who don’t conform to the safety practices.

2. Remove ergonomic risk factors

In the manual handling of materials, there is a danger for causing physical damage to employees. Motions to be avoided such as bending and twisting in the incorrect way can damage the body over time. Highly repetitive motions such as frequent reaching and lifting and forceful exertions like carrying or picking up heavy items can also be an ergonomic risk. By observing your employees at work you will be able to get a feel for areas that you need to focus on to eliminate these stressors.

3. Hire the experts

If you outsource your material handling solutions to an experienced company they will take care of their employee’s safety so you don’t have to. As they have been in business a long time you can trust that they know what they are doing will be able to take a look at your operation and provide valuable insights into how to improve your safety procedures.

4. Provide the right equipment

These can be simple things like gloves or eye protection, but they really can make a world of difference. If your team needs them you should make sure that steel-toed shoes and head protection are mandatory for everyone on the site. If you are operating heavy machinery then you may need to install and maintain more robust safety equipment such as kill switches and more.

5. Keep your equipment up to date

It is worth keeping an eye on the developments in material handling solutions and technology as the improvements are often to make the systems safer and more efficient. This can increase the productivity of your facility and often dramatically reduce the risk of accident in your material handling process.

6. Listen to your employees

If you are paying attention and listen to what your employees have to say then you will be able to get a real feel for what is happening on the floor. Muscular and skeletal fatigue happen over a long period of time and if you can catch the early signs of this in your employees you will be able to offer corrective measures. By providing a solution to a problem before it has the time to do some real physical harm you will make great progress in establishing a safe working environment for everyone.

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