Across Canada, the number of workplace injury cases are beginning to creep up. This may be the fault of businesses not employing the right safety precautions. It could be because employees are not taking advantage of the right solutions. Or, perhaps there are other reasons that can’t be explained. With the statistics poorly reflecting on both the public and private sectors, many employers are now trying to incorporate a wide array of safety measures and ergonomic concepts in the workplace.
In the labour industry, for instance, many injuries are related to pulling and pushing of materials from one place to another. Many of the injuries that occur during handling of materials are serious and often lead to long-term disability. Some of the ways to reduce injuries at work can consist of a mix of common sense, safety guidelines and efficient technologies and equipment.
Here are five ways to make material handling solutions more efficient:
1. Get Organized Right Away
In many construction sites and warehouses, there is often poor organization of the products, little information on handling them and often lack of safety equipment.
To improve safety, one should start from scratch: when any new material arrives to the facility, staff should obtain a full inventory and read the safety sheet. Another idea would be to organize the material so that it is stored in a safe place and is easy to access. Remember, you must keep all the materials in a place where accidental exposure is least likely.
2. Always Use Durable Mobility Wheels
In construction, the amount of material to be transported back and forth is enormous. It is thus wise to invest in the right wheels which can roll on all types of terrain without toppling. Plus, it is important that workers not throw debris and other garbage on the pathways as this can also greatly increase the risk of wheelbarrow toppling.
No matter what mobility cart is being considered to transport material, it must be thoroughly examined to ensure that it meets the demands. Indeed, one also has to consider ergonomics to prevent back injuries.
Other factors that one should consider before buying a caster wheel is noise, size, ease of use, the type of floor terrain, wetness in the environment, sloped or uneven surfaces and maintenance costs.
One last thing: you must also consider that type of material one wants to transport. If the material is a hazardous liquid, one will need a closed mobile transporter whereas rocks, stones, and other solid debris can be transported in an open wheeler.
3. Use the Right Equipment
Even though technology does help make things efficient, this does not obviate the need for the right equipment. When the material should be be transferred from one place to another, one must have the right transporting equipment. To load and unload, one may need forklift trucks or hand trucks, one may need pallets and more importantly, the equipment must be maintained regularly to prevent breakdown.
4. Training is Essential for Safety
No amount of enhanced technology or advanced equipment can improve safety if the employee is not trained.
That said, there should be a rule that no new employee can be on the worksite without a prior training course. All employees must be educated in the safe use of equipment. In addition, the employee must be taught how to report and handle accidents. Indeed, constant employee injuries result in downtime, which does not benefit the business.
5. Ensure Personnel Wears Proper Gear
Finally, no matter what type of mobility equipment the company invests in, the worker must wear the appropriate safety gear when working with the hazardous and heavy material.
If the environment is cold, staff members should be required to wear multiple layers of clothing and sport a protective helmet, boots, and gloves.
Remember, if there is flying debris or splashing a liquid, goggles are mandatory. If there is aerosolized debris or toxic fumes in the environment, then a mask should be worn. The management should allow no alcohol on premises and provide the workers with adequate rest when fatigue sets in.