In the workplace, your employees have to handle materials. This is true in just about any type of business, from a restaurant to a recycling plant to a manufacturing facility. The key to reducing injury is to have the right tools on hand to help your employees with handling and moving materials and to teach your employees the best practices for moving items. With the right tools and knowledge, workplace injuries related to moving materials can be greatly reduced.
Reduce the Size of the Load
When you are moving materials around your business, you don't always need to move the largest quantity possible. Instead, focus on moving smaller loads that are not as heavy.
Your employees are less likely to get injured when they are moving smaller loads that are properly packaged and easy to carry. It is better to take a little longer moving small loads around your business than to take the risk of an employee getting hurt.
Change the Layout of Your Business
You have control over how your business is laid out. Look at where you store materials and where you use materials and figure out how you can change the layout of your business to eliminate or reduce the distance items that need to be carried.
You want to minimize the distance between workstations and storage areas in your business. This will cut down on the time it takes to transport goods, which should help reduce the risk to injury as well.
Eliminate Manual Lifting
Manual lifting, even when you train your employees to lift items properly, can be risky. You must fit and move the materials just right in order to avoid injury. Instead of requiring your employees to manually move materials around your place of business, look at ways that you can use material handling equipment to help reduce the risk of manual lifting.
For example, if you have items that need to be moved from a storage area to work area on a regular basis, consider installing a conveyor that you can put the materials on and easily transport across your business. This will greatly reduce the amount of carrying and lifting involved, allowing your employees to only need to lift the items off the conveyer belt and right onto their workstations.
Make sure you have things such as hand trucks available for large loads. A hand truck can make it easier and quicker to move boxes and similar items around your business. If you have large items, you may need a lift truck or pallet mover to transport those items.
If you want to minimize injury in your workplace, set up the flow of the workplace to minimize the need for manual lifting. This can be done by changing the layout, requiring small quantities of goods to be manually moved at one time, and using material handling products to reduce the need for manual lifting.