We’re wrapping up the last week of safety month with manual material handling safety.
There are several risks posed by manual material handling. The most common reported injuries involve strains and sprains, while the most frequent injuries occur to the back, hips, neck, shoulders, and knees.
The first thing to consider with manual material handling is where the object is initially picked up and then set down. The ideal safe height to lift an object is between a person’s waistline and shoulders, within one foot of their body. If you are required to do a lot of bending down to lift or lift above your head, that could cause serious strain to the body and potentially cause injury. Another notable risk is repetitive movement. If the material handler is twisting and bending frequently, even with a small object, that can cause more strain and soreness on the body, which could lead to a serious injury.
If there are frequent lifts, material handlers should switch stations every 30 minutes to an hour and receive frequent breaks to put less stress on their bodies and reduce the chance of injury.
Materials should not be carried over any distance without mechanical assistance, like mechanical tools such as carts, dollies/hand trucks, pallet jacks, wheeled tables, and hoists. These tools can be very beneficial to a material handler by doing most of the work and eliminating the strain on a person’s body.
In case you missed it, here is the previous week’s topic on safety month:
Week 1 – Office Enviroment Safety
Week 2 – Welding Safety
Week 3 – Forklift Safety
Week 4 – Slips, Trips, and Falls Safety