Mechanical Material Handling: Using Forklifts and Other Motorized Material-handling Equipment

ForkliftMechanical material-handling demands in today’s food processing facilities are very diverse, but typically include lifting and handling raw materials, in-process components and finished products.

To prevent repetitive motion or strain-related injuries, the use of mechanical equipment is preferred over manual handling.

You can help control and manage the insurance risks associated with mechanical material handling by implementing these tips:

Using Forklifts and Other Motorized Material-handling Equipment

• Develop a written material-handling equipment safety program

• Inspect equipment daily to verify proper working order

• Do not allow employees under 18 to operate motorized equipment

• Include initial certification, refresher training and periodic review of operator training

• Cover the following topics in forklift training:

– Avoiding sharp turns

– Equipping forklifts with overhead cages

– Never exceeding the rated capability of the forklift

– Lowering the forks to the floor when parking

– Keeping loads low when traveling

– Driving in reverse when load height obstructs operator view or when descending a slope of more than 10 degrees

– Following posted speed limits

– Ensuring that wheel chocks are in place or a dock-lock is attached before entering a spotted trailer

– Never allowing an operator to drive up to someone standing in front of a fixed-object wall, workbench, racking or other equipment

– Never allowing passengers on forklifts

– Not raising loads when forklift is moving

 – Always wearing seat belts

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