In 2018, the global Material Handling Equipment (MHE) market was worth $26.62 billion. It is expected to reach $41.18 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 6.8%. The MHE industry has been the bedrock of global supply chains and the rapid growth of the e-commerce sector.
While automation is swiftly taking over material handling solutions, the issue of workplace safety remains a primary concern for most business owners. According to the latest report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5147 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2017, with transportation and material moving accounting for 47% of worker deaths in 2017.
These material handling injuries often lead to expensive medical treatments and worker’s compensations, and low employee morale, and result in a substantial loss of productivity. With increasing globalization, even the smallest downtime can cost your business a fortune. You need to have proper safety measurements in place to ensure your business continues to function smoothly.
Here are five safety tips you may find extremely useful when it comes to material handling.
Training plays a vital role in preventing material handling equipment-related accidents. In fact, most modern material handling equipment requires trained operators. You can either hire certified employees or provide the necessary training to your existing ones.
The training should include but not be limited to the following:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can reduce the risk of workplace injury significantly. These specialized clothing and accessories protect workers from physical, chemical, and biological harms in some cases.
When selecting the PPE, keep the following in mind:
Pre-shift inspections can help you identify potential safety issues in time. Before each shift begins and after it ends, ask your experienced and trained safety managers to perform a visual inspection of the equipment as well as safety gear.
You will most probably find cracked hoses, rusty metal components, and faulty or worn-out wiring and electronics during routine inspections. Ignoring these small issues can lead to a fatal accident resulting in considerable downtime. So, make sure to check the following:
In construction and heavy lifting industry, you often need to move oversized loads. Although you can use cranes, forklifts, and trucks, you will rely on manual help to a great extent. As a result, you will need to take extra care when handling heavy loads.
Keep the following in mind:
Despite an ergonomically-designed material handling process, your employees are likely to feel fatigued or tired. Even the simplest manual material handling tasks can take a toll on a worker’s health. You should have a standardized reporting system to identify and inform the floor manager of employee fatigue during every shift.
Always encourage your workers to report fatigue or any other health issues to their superiors immediately. Get it checked immediately to prevent it from developing into a grave injury, which will not only lead to expensive medical treatment but also considerable downtime.
Automation is on the rise in the material handling sector. However, the increasing use of machines doesn’t guarantee employee safety during material handling. You need to train your employees to follow safety guidelines, use protective gear, and keep the workplace free of potential hazards. Hopefully, the above five tips will help you set the foundation of a highly safe and productive workplace. Do you think we are missing something? Tell us what safety measures you take when operating material handling equipment in the comments section.