Manual Material Handling: Action

Sentry Insurance Manual MaterialMaterial-handling demands in today’s printing facilities are very diverse, but typically include a combination of lifting, handling and moving raw paper stock, in-process print jobs and finished pieces.

Sentry has identified the following manual material-handling risk factors:

• Frequency
• Weight
• Distance
• Position
• Posture
• Prolonged or static holding
• Personal factors

By being diligent in preventing employee and customer injuries, as well as property damage, you will help minimize accidents and help to reduce your insurance costs. Follow these tips to help reduce risk of injury associated with manual material handling:

• Develop a policy statement on lifting safety and back injury prevention
• Train staff on proper lifting and material-handling practices
• Follow a standard format as part of your lifting and material-handling procedures that will support employees for procedural, workstation and equipment changes
• When possible, transfer material-handling demands to a vendor or supplier
• Use mechanical devices whenever possible
• Provide adequate storage, appropriate housekeeping and floor maintenance to prevent trip and fall hazards
• Consider the material flow and handling impact on downstream departments
• Immediately discuss noticeable discomfort or pain exhibited by an employee. Document its cause.
• Conduct a Job Safety/Hazard Analysis to identify high hazard tasks and appropriate solutions for those job tasks that require intensive product-handling requirements
• Use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment process when materials handled or lifted present a recognized risk of injury
• Place the heaviest and most frequently lifted items within your average employee’s strike height (mid-thigh to lower chest) when organizing objects on storage racks or shelving. Keep lighter objects at floor-level and above chest height.
• Correct employees who continue to make improper lifts. Demonstrate proper techniques.
• Keep the weight of objects lifted to a reasonable level. Restrict lifting by one person to no more than 50 pounds.
• Transfer physically demanding lifts to mechanized lift-assist equipment
• Encourage employees to maintain appropriate weight and physical fitness

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