Let’s Talk About Ergonomics for Material Handling

warehouse worker carrying cardboard boxes wearing white gloves to avoid injuryManual material handling is a major cause of workplace injuries, especially in industries where warehousing is a major component of business operations.

Many workers could suffer from cumulative trauma, overexertion and other issues due to stress caused by improper material handling.

Paying close attention to ergonomics for material handling is the smartest way to ensure worker safety.

What is Ergonomics & Why Is It Important?

warehouse worker using equipment to handle a pallet of items in a warehouse

Ergonomics in the workplace refers to a clear understanding of interactions between a worker and inanimate objects in the environment.

It deals with evaluating tasks in an organization to become compatible with workers’ physical limitations and abilities.

Ergonomics plays a critical role in proper material handling in the workplace. Ergonomic solutions can make employees more productive and reduce the risk of injury. When working in a warehouse setting, your body is stressed by several factors such as posture, temperature, repetitive movements and more.

Lifting Principles to Leverage Ergonomics for Material Handling

Lifting principles need close consideration to leverage ergonomics for material handling safely. These principles are broken down into three sections:

Ergonomics During Preparation

Before even beginning to lift any materials, it’s important that your workers are properly prepared. Things to consider include:

  • Distance the load must travel from point to point (consider hazards and obstructions on the way)
  • Whether the correct equipment is available to help lift and move the load
  • The material’s average weight and whether mechanical tools are required to lift it

Without considering the above, workers will enter tasks without the proper equipment or considerations for safely executing the material handling.

Lifting Principles Before the Lift

The lifting principles to consider before you lift an object include:

warehouse worker using the proper equipment to handle heavy items at work

  • Maintaining proper posture before and during the lifting of heavy loads
  • How to lift the load

These considerations will allow workers to reduce the risk of straining their back or other joints, injuring themselves or injuring others and damaging the material.

When Carrying the Material & Setting It Down

When carrying and setting down the material, ergonomic principles include:

  • Posture and motion during the lift
  • How and where to set down the load
  • Securing the material to avoid sliding or accidental damages

Considering these three factors is crucial in ensuring employees and their colleagues are safe. It also boosts protection against material losses due to damages.

How Can Businesses Help Workers Improve Material Handling

A lot of input is involved to maximize material handling in the workplace and safeguard workers. But it’s not a one-way street as employers have some vital roles to play as well.

Employers need to monitor the entire warehousing process to ensure workers are always out of harm’s way. Secondly, business owners must provide needed machinery for employees to maximize their support for proper material handling.

Employees must utilize the correct equipment safely to maximize ergonomics for material handling in the workplace. Workers can improve their production quota, protect themselves and avoid manpower or equipment losses when they are properly trained to use the right piece of equipment for the job.

Employees also need to adhere to the business’ safety guidelines when it comes to material handling. Getting ergonomics all wrong due to safety lapses could cause significant problems in the workplace.

Advanced Consulting & Training – Workplace Safety Audits

safety audit happening at a warehouse to ensure that warehouse ergonomics is being used

Ergonomics for material handling requires close consideration if your business is keen on avoiding worker injuries and significant equipment damage. Employers and workers have a role to play to ensure they maximize best practices for warehousing and workplace inventory.

Smart solutions to engage your workers in safe material handling may require you to contact an experienced safety-consulting firm, like Advanced Consulting & Training. The advice, tips and support from professional safety consulting agencies will revolutionize material handling in your workplace.

If your workplace needs a safety consultation from our ergonomics experts at Advanced Consulting & Training, reach out to our team today!

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