Material Handling Guidelines

Material handling is an essential part of working in a warehouse setting. Products may be moved in and out of your facility on a daily basis. Providing your workers with safety guidelines and targeted equipment or machinery will prevent injuries while supporting a productive environment.

Safety Requirements

Various handling tasks will require specific processes. For instance, if your workers will be required to handle chemicals, they will need to wear protective clothing and ensure that the products are handled in an area that is well-ventilated. If your workers will be lifting boxes repeatedly, you may mandate that a back brace or a lift is utilized.

Any heavy items that are being handled may necessitate the use of a forklift. All of the guidelines that you would like your workers to follow should be highlighted in an employee handbook. You can also post signage within your warehouse. The signage can serve as a reminder to your employees, whenever they are performing a specific material handling task.

Designated Areas

Material handling tasks should be conducted in designated areas. The areas where products will be moved around should not interfere with the other operations that are being performed within your warehouse facility. Use floor striping to outline each area where a specific material handling process will need to be conducted.

Make sure that each manufacturing center or shipping area is not in the way of where the handling tasks will take place. Store equipment within the material handling areas. A forklift should be stored in the area where heavy packages will be lifted. A lift and back braces should be stored in an area where other types of merchandise will be handled. 

Inspections And Maintenance

Manual lifts, a forklift, and other types of equipment or machinery that will be used for material handling purposes should be inspected and maintained. Routine inspections will aid with identifying issues that need to be addressed quickly. An inspection should involve a visual and manual assessment of the parts that are needed to operate a piece of equipment or a machine. Records should be kept for each inspection.

The records should indicate if any problems were identified. If any maintenance is performed, a list of the materials that were replaced or repaired should be recorded. The information that you have on file will aid with keeping the equipment in operable order in the future. You can always reflect back on each inspection and the maintenance steps that were performed.

For more information on material handling, contact a professional near you.