Posted by: David Cant | May 11, 2010

Manual Handling Guidance by Veritas Health and Safety Consultants

Material Handling & Storage

Products must be stored safely to prevent them from falling on employees or visitors and to reduce product damage. The storage of products involve the safe use of powered industrial
trucks (forklifts), as well as secure and safe racking to support loads.

When moving materials from storage, the following safety tips should be observed:
• When stocking shelves by hand, position the materials to be shelved slightly in front
of you, to avoid twisting your body when lifting and stacking.
• Visually inspect for sharp objects or other hazards before reaching into containers,
such as garbage cans, boxes, bags or sinks.
• Remove or bend nails and staples from crates before unpacking the crates.
• When cutting, always cut away from you and your co-workers.
• Do not try to kick objects out of pathways. Objects should be pushed or carried from walkways.
• Do not let items overhang from shelves into walkways.
• Move slowly when approaching blind corners.
• Place heavier loads on the lower or middle shelves.
• Remove one object at a time from shelves.
• Place items flat on shelves, so that they do not wobble.

Manual Handling/Lifting Materials

Despite the fact that most of the materials in warehouses are transported by powered industrial trucks and hand trucks, employees can still be injured. Materials can easily fall on your feet, your hands can be pinched between boxes while handling them, and you could injure your back moving product.

Some basic safety procedures for proper lifting are:
• Keep materials/loads situated from the knee level to chest level for easier lifting.
• Whenever possible, avoid placing loads on the upper shelves or on floor.
• Never bend over at the waist to lift a load, regardless of its size or weight.
• Whenever possible, use lifting devices such as forklifts rather than manually handling loads.
• Wear the correct size of gloves to help protect your hands, as well as maintaining a good grip.
• Get help from co-workers on a lift that is considered too heavy or awkward.
• Minimize the amount of lifting by pre-planning your tasks.

There are several basic rules of lifting and moving that can help prevent back injuries:

1) Lift with your legs, not your back; this is because your legs muscles are larger and better
positioned over the hips and knees to provide this activity.
2) Do not twist; instead, always position your hips and feet toward the object you are lifting or moving.
3) Maintain the natural curves of the neck, upper back and lower back while lifting, moving, and even sitting.
4) Keep objects close to your body; this reduces the leverage on your spine.
5) Push, rather than pull when possible. Pushing naturally places your legs in a position to do the work whereas pulling naturally places your back in a forward bent position.

Need advice and information on Manual handling? You should contact Veritas Health and Safety Consultants on 0121 249 1281


  1. A solid information given when it comes to safety at work, Thanks for sharing this.

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