Lifting and Material Handling – Health & Safety Issues

When it comes to workplaces, health and safety of workers should always be among the top concerns.

According to a research conducted by Bureau of Labor Statistics – United States Department of Labor, a total of 5,190 workers died from fatal work-related injuries in 2016 in the U.S.. While there are multiple threats to the health and safety of employees at work, incorrect lifting and handling of material is perhaps among the leading causes of workplace-related accidents.Scaffolding

Therefore, finding the correct way to lift and handle materials is necessary; poor lifting techniques or mishandling equipment used for lifting and handling could lead to horrifying injuries, or even potentially fatal accidents.

The first step to avoiding such accidents is identifying risks involved with lifting and handling material.

A very common practice in material handling is manual lifting of heavy loads. Manual lifting is a part of everyday activities for most workers; therefore, during the assessment of risks, it is often overlooked. But as it involves regular pushing, pulling and movement of heavy weight objects, it forces workers to overexert themselves, which results in soft-tissue damage and musculoskeletal disorders. These injuries could be minor at the time of the incident but have the potential to develop into serious health problems, if poor handling practices are continued.

Another threat to the safety of workers lifting material is falling or tripping while attempting to move the load. This often takes place when the load is being moved in such a manner that it hinders the view of the individual carrying the load.

The situation gets worse if the movement of objects is taking place on a staircase, as workers are at a much higher risk of falling and sustaining injuries that could also be fatal.

All standard procedures must be followed by employees; it is, however, the legal responsibility of the employer to ensure that the work environment has minimum threats to the wellbeing of their employees.

Employers are also responsible for providing appropriate health and safety training to workers. These trainings not only make workplaces safer for employees, but also boost confidence of the employees. But if you’re an employer looking for a way to significantly minimize lifting and handling accidents, lifting equipment like air casters are your best bet.

These automated guided vehicle systems are perfect for lifting activities; they are highly maneuverable, efficient and reduce the amount of manpower that would be required for heavy lifting otherwise. There’s a wide range of caster modules too, so you may select the one that is more appropriate to your needs.

Maintenance for such machines is also pretty straightforward; they do not need lubrication due to the absence of moving parts. Therefore, to minimize health and safety concerns associated with lifting and handling activities, you may consider switching from manual handling to pneumatic devices.

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