Safe Lifting & Material Handling
Back Facts • What percentage of Americans suffer from back pain? • Some reports indicate that more than half of all Americans suffer from some type of back pain. • More back surgery is performed in the U. S. than in any other industrialized country in the world!
Back Facts • The design of the human back is not for lifting. • The back is fragile and easily injured.
Common Sources of Back Injury • Improper lifting • Poor posture • Repetitive motion (twisting, stooping, etc.) • Traumatic injury (falling, whiplash, etc.) • Compression injury (falling objects)
Proper Lifting Technique • Study the load “before” you lift! • Get help if you need it. • Use mechanical devices or hand trucks for heavy or awkward objects. • When lifting: • Stand close to the object • Keep your back straight • Get a good grip on the object • Lift with your legs!
Carrying a Load • Keep the load close to your body. • Never twist or rotate your body while carrying a load. • Reposition by moving your feet instead of twisting your waist or shoulders. • Make sure that you can see where you are going. • If your vision is obstructed, use a “spotter”.
Why keep the load close to my body? • Imagine your body as a lifting crane. • A crane’s maximum lift potential occurs when the load is nearest to the base of the machine. • The farther the load moves away from the base, the more unstable the crane becomes. • The safe lift potential is significantly reduced as the distance from the base increases!
Other Factors forHaving a Healthy Back • Exercise back and abdominal muscles. • Stretch before work and during work to reduce strain and fatigue. • Practice good posture - stooping and slumping create stress on your spine!
Lifting Stretch Exercise Tips • Exercise regularly! A brisk walk is a good way to warm up. • Inhale deeply before each repetition of an exercise and exhale when performing each repetition.
Examples of Exercises • Go through the motions of the lift without lifting any weight. • Stand with feet apart. Place hands in small of back. Keep knees straight. Bend backwards at waist as far as possible and hold for one or two seconds. Repeat as needed.
Examples of Exercises • For loosening up the hips, improving leg drive and strengthening the buttocks and hamstrings: • Assume a lunge position and step forward into a lunge. • Keep your chest up • Look straight ahead • Coordinate your arms with your legs.
Mechanical Material Handling Devices • Use mechanical devices when a task cannot be completed by hand. Using these devices can simplify the task, but machines also bring their own hazards to the operation.
Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Hand Trucks • Other names for hand trucks: • Wheelbarrows • Dolly trucks • Two-wheeled hand trucks • Hand trucks should be equipped with canvas, leather or rubber knuckle guards – Why? • To help prevent hand injuries.
Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Hand Trucks • When loading, the heavy objects should be below the lighter ones, and the load kept as low as possible – Why? • To prevent tipping over • The hand trucks should not be overloaded, and the load should not obstruct your view.
Hand Trucks • Use proper lifting techniques when lifting a load. • The operator should push and balance the truck always walking forward. • The truck should not be held in place with your foot. • Two-wheeled hand trucks should be equipped with brakes if used on inclined walkways.
Roller Belt Screw Bucket Chain Overhead trolley Portable Mobile Tow Assembly Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Conveyors Generally, conveyors used in industry are:
Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Conveyors • Moving parts should be guarded with wire mesh enclosures or railings. • Rollers or pulleys at the ends of belt conveyors should be guarded to prevent fingers and hands from being drawn into pinch points.
Conveyors • A shield, guard or housing should enclose each end and all other areas at floor level where workers could come into contact with moving parts. • Avoid riding on conveyors, except those that incorporate platforms and control rooms for operating personnel.
Conveyors • Conveyors should have conveniently located warning devices and emergency stop controls. • Turn off power and lock the switch during maintenance.
Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Powered Industrial Trucks • Powered industrial trucks: • Move material quickly and easily • Save work and time • Know how to safely operate the trucks. OSHA requires specific training for PIT operators (29 CFR 1910.178).
Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Powered Industrial Trucks • Pay attention to maximum load limits and the condition of the bed – never overload. • Before and after each shift, check: • Brakes • Steering • Controls • Forks • Hoist • Warning devices and lights • Report any malfunctions to a supervisor.
Powered Industrial Trucks • Back the truck down a ramp, but keep the load in front when going uphill. • Tilt the forklift masts back when driving the lift and keep head, arms and legs inside. • Keep the forks about 4-6 inches above the ground.
Powered Industrial Trucks • Do not lift or transport people. • Sound the horn at a blind corner. • Check clearances when loading or unloading.
Mechanical Material Handling Devices – Cranes & Derricks • Only trained operators are permitted to run cranes. • The rated load must be plainly marked on each side of the crane and the crane must never be overloaded. • Never work or stand underneath a suspended load. • If operating, do not swing loads over workers.
Cranes & Derricks • Keep hoisting chains and ropes in good condition and inspect them frequently. • Use a load block hook with a sling – do not wrap chains or ropes around loads. • Operators should make sure the sling clears all obstacles.
Cranes & Derricks • Standard hand signals for boom cranes should be understood by both the operator and the signaler. • Crane operators should never remove their hands and feet from the controls while a load is suspended.
Hand Protection • Watch out for pinch points! • Wear gloves that are approved by your supervisor for the work being done. • Never work around moving machines while the guards are removed. This exposes your hands to pinch points.
Hand Protection • Before lifting or handling objects, look for: • Splinters • Sharp edges • Anything else that could injure your hands • Make sure you have the proper hand clearance when setting down loads or carrying loads through doors. • Always wash your hands after you are exposed to chemicals.
Pinch Points • Pinch points are areas where your hands can become trapped or mashed between two objects. • Examples: • Operation point of a metal press • Area where a sprocket and chain come together • Working around moving machines while the guards are down exposes your hands to pinch points.
Safe Lifting Summary Points • Back injuries result in significant losses to both employees and employers each year. • Training and common sense will prevent most back injuries. • The back is not designed for lifting, so don’t use it that way! • Good health and exercise are a key factor in back safety programs.
Material Handling Summary Points • Know when to use mechanical methods of material handling devices. • Hand Trucks • Conveyors • Cranes & Derricks • Wear the appropriate hand protection. • Watch out for pinch points.