Manual Lifting and Materials Handling

Hazard: Back and other injuries may occur from improper lifting, bad material handling practices, and overexertion.

Safety Solutions

  • Provide general ergonomics training and task-specific training.
  • Get a co-worker to help if a product or other item is too heavy to lift.
  • If possible, use powered equipment instead of manually lifting heavy materials.
  • Reduce lifts from shoulder height and from floor height by repositioning the shelf or bin.
  • Use your legs and keep your back in a natural position while lifting.
  • Test the load to be lifted to estimate its weight, size, and bulk and to determine the proper lifting method.
  • Do not twist while carrying a load. Instead, shift your feet and take small steps in the direction you want to turn.
  • Make sure there are appropriately marked and sufficiently safe clearances for aisles and at loading docks or passageways where mechanical-handling equipment is used.
  • Properly stack loose or unboxed materials which might fall from a pile by blocking, interlocking, or limiting the height of the pile to prevent falling hazards.
  • Bags, containers, bundles, etc. should be stored in tiers that are stacked, blocked, interlocked, and limited in height so that they are stable and secure to prevent sliding or collapse.
  • Storage areas should be kept free from accumulation of materials that could lead to tripping, fire, explosion, or pest infestations.

Additional Resources