Material and Equipment Handling — This is an important topic that covers how to safely handle, store, and transport various materials and equipment in the warehouse, such as pallets, boxes, forklifts, ladders, and carts. Improper material and equipment handling can lead to injuries, damages, and inefficiencies in the warehouse.
Tips and best practices for proper material and equipment handling
- Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety shoes, hard hats, and eye protection when handling materials and equipment.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when operating equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, conveyors, and hoists. Do not exceed the load capacity or speed limit of the equipment. Do not use damaged or defective equipment. Report any malfunctions or problems to the supervisor or maintenance personnel.
- Use proper lifting techniques when manually handling materials. Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Do not twist your body or overreach. Use both hands to grip the load. Keep the load close to your body and at waist level. Do not lift more than you can handle. Ask for help or use mechanical aids if the load is too heavy or bulky.
- Stack and store materials securely and neatly on shelves, racks, pallets, or bins. Do not overload or overhang the storage areas. Leave enough space for aisles, walkways, doors, and emergency exits. Label the materials clearly and accurately. Use signs and barriers to warn others of potential hazards such as falling objects, sharp edges, or flammable substances.
- Keep the warehouse clean and organized. Remove any clutter, debris, spills, or obstructions that could cause slips, trips, or falls. Dispose of waste materials properly. Follow the 5S methodology (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) to maintain a safe and efficient work environment.
Material and equipment handling must be done safely and always by the rules. Simply put, skimping on safety measures can lead to accidents and injuries. If you are unsure about a process, procedure, or piece of equipment, ask your supervisor so you can do your job competently and safely. Remember to stay safe out there!
OSHA has more information on this topic if you’re interested.
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