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Material Handling Safety

In general, OSHA refers to material handling as the manual or mechanical process of handling, storage, use, and disposal of materials. However, in the manufacturing and construction industry this includes a broad range of operations such as:

  • Forklifts
  • Mobile and overhead cranes
  • Hand-lever operated hoists
  • Material pull ropes
  • Manual lifting-back safety
  • Preventing falling objects, tools, or materials 
  • Loading/unloading trucks
  • Transporting material
  • Flagger/spotter duties

Injuries sustained from material handling fall into the category of the most common compensatory injuries in the United States, often resulting in serious injury or death. These operations require precise planning and training to assure these tasks are conducted incident and injury free.

In short, CUST-O-FAB’s philosophy concerning these activities is simple:

EVERY TASK must be well-planned prior to the start of any material handling.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • All Equipment Operators must successfully pass a written and performance evaluation and be authorized to operate industrial lifting equipment
  • Daily, monthly, and annual inspections of industrial lifting equipment, rigging, and hand-lever operated hoists are conducted, to include task specific inspections prior to and during use
  • Documented lift planning is required that includes precise weight calculations of equipment configurations, rigging, and attachment capacities
  • Lift/fall zone management, including safety assessments regarding how adjacent lifts conducted by other entities may affect our employees
  • Securing loads with tie down straps, bed stake stanchions, etc. to prevent load tipping or inadvertent load shift falls during transport
  • Evaluating manual lifting tasks, including lift path, distance, and obstacles and asking for help with items in excess of 50 pounds
  • Containing stored tools and equipment on elevated work platforms
  • Flaggers/spotters/signalman must be trained, wear a high visibility vest, and maintain constant visual or radio contact with the operator