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Do’s & Don’t and Know why material handling safety is important in your workplace, safety during storage and transport. It is sharing of knowledge. By Bimal Chandra Das / Kolkata / Bokaro

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  1. 1. SAFETY IN MATERIAL HANDLING IN INDUSTRIESMaterial handling is a job that almost every worker in industry performs - either as his sole duty oras part of his regular work, either by hand or with mechanical help.Manual handling of materials increases the possibility of injuries and adds to cost of production.To reduce the number of material handling injuries and to increase plant efficiency materialhandling should be minimised by combining or eliminating operations. What material handlingmust still be done should be done mechanically, in so far as possible. Although mechanicalhandling creates new sets of hazards, the net result apart from increased efficiency bring feweraccidents/injuries.Manual handling of materials accounts for 25% of all occupation injuries. As an average industrymoves about 50T of materials for each ton of product produced. Strains and sprains, fractures andbruises are the common material handling injuries. They are caused primarily, by unsafe workpractices like improper lifting, carrying too heavy a load, incorrect gripping, failing to observeproper foot or hand clearances and failing to use or wear proper equipment. To gain an insight intothe material handling injury problem one can ask the following questions about existing operatingpractices. 1. Can the job be engineered so to eliminate manual handling? 2. How do the materials being handling (chemical, dust, rough & sharp objects) hurt people during doing the handling? 3. Can employees be given handling aids, as proper sized boxes, adequate trucks or hooks that will make the job safer? 4. Will personal protective equipment, help to prevent injuries?These may serve as a start towards overall appraisal and detailed enquiry in an attempt to preventinjuries.The largest number of injuries doing manual handling occur to fingers and hands in the ways ofpicking objects up and putting them down. As a preventive action the workers can be givenfollowing instructions 1. Inspect materials for slivers, jagged edges, burrs, rough and slippery surfaces 2. Get firm grip on the object 3. Keep fingers away from pinch point especially when setting down materials. 4. When handling lumbers, pipe or other long objects keep hands away from ends to prevent them from being pinched. 5. Wipe off grease, wet, slippery or dirty objects before trying to handle them. 6. Keep hands free of oil and grease.In most cases hand gloves and other hand protectives have to be used to prevent hand injuries. Inother cases, handles or holders can be attached to objects such as handles for moving autobatteries, tongs for feeding materials etc. Feet and legs sustain share of material handling injuries,the greatest share being to the toes. To avoid such injury people should wear foot protectives likesafety shoes, ankle guards etc. Eyes, head and trunk of body can also be injured when openingwire bound or metal bound bale or box. A person should wear eye protection as well as stoutgloves and take special care to prevent the ends of bindings from flying loose and striking face orbody. If the material is dusty or is toxic the persons should wear a respirator or other suitable PPE.
  2. 2. Lifting And CarryingThe best means to reduce back injury from lifting to reduce exposure. This can be achieved bycutting weight loads, using mechanical aids, etc. But in spite of this manual handling cannot beeliminated totally. Following are the basic instructions to be followed:- 1. Never permit person to overexert when lifting 2. Lift gradually, without jerking. 3. Keep the load close to body 4. Follow the 6 step lifting procedure as under: 5. Keep feet parted one along side, one behind the object. 6. Keep back straight nearly vertical 7. Truck your chin in 8. Grip the object with the whole hand 9. Truck elbow and arms in 10. Keep body weight directly over feet.Equipments For HandlingHandling materials with hands alone is usually slow and hazardous. To make it safe and efficientequipments have been developed from small hand tools to cranes, conveyers, hand trucks etc.Hand Tools Available AreCrowbar. This is the most common hand tool. It is important for its use that the right kind and sizeis selected for the job, since it can slip. A person should never work astride it. He should positionhimself to avoid being pinched or crushed if the bar slips or the object moves suddenly.Rollers. They are used for moving heavy or bulky objects. Workers are to be careful not to crushtheir fingers or toes between the roller and the floor. They should never use hand or feet to changethe direction of the object.Hooks. Hand hooks are to be kept sharp so that they will not slip when applied. The handle shouldbe strong and securely attached and shaped to fit the hand.Hand Trucks. Two wheeled hand truck look easy to handle, yet there are safe procedures thatmust be followed 1. Keep the center of gravity of the load as low as possible .Place heavy objects below lighter objects. 2. Place the load well forward so that the weight will be carried by the axle, not by the handles. 3. Place the load so that it will not slip or fall. Load only to a height that will allow a clear view ahead 4. Let the truck carry the load. The operator should only balance and push. 5. Never walk backward with hand truck 6. When going down an incline, keep the truck ahead. When going up, keep truck behind. 7. Move truck at a safe speed. Do not run.
  3. 3. Conveyors.For transporting materials from one point to another conveyors are commonly used in industries.Let no one ride on conveyors. There should be warning signs posted. If people must cross,crossover bridges should be provided. They should also be provided with warning bells and safetyswitches like pull cord switch.In case of gravity conveyors usually the chute or roller type, the should be equipped with warningdevices or protective devices to prevent hands from being caught in descending materials orjammed between materials and the receiving table. If the conveyor jam up, free it from topside. Ifit is necessary to enter the chute to free a jam, the person who enters, should wear a safety belt andhave another person stationed at the top of chute to assist in case of emergency.All pinch points - gear, chain, drives and revolving shafts on conveyors should be guarded. Screwconveyors should be completely enclosed. The principal danger is that workers may try todislodge material or free jam with their hands or feet and then be caught in conveyors. Nomaintenance work in conveyors should be carried out unless the power is made off and the switchis locked offCranesMost of the material handling in industries is done by EOT crane. The following safe operatingstandard practices are important and should be strictly followed. 1. Crane operator and signalman should understand standard signals. 2. One signalman should be deputed for each crane. 3. One must not stand under the load, be alert at all times, watch warning signals closely. 4. Crane and its auxiliary handling device should not be overloaded. 5. Hoist chain or hoist rope must be free from kinks or twists, must not be wrapped around the load. 6. Load must be well secured and balanced in the sling before it is lifted a few inches. 7. Bring crane hook over the load slowly to prevent swinging. 8. Avoid sudden acceleration/deceleration of moving load and the contact of load with obstructions. 9. Avoid using crane for side pulls(Stability of crane gets endangered, parts of the crane get overstressed). 10. No hoisting/lowering/travelling of crane to be done when employee is on the load/hook. 11. Operator should not carry loads over people 12. Use warning signals/bell/horn before starting a crane. 13. Test brake each time load of approaching capacity is lifted. 14. Do not lower a load below the point where less then two full wraps of rope remain on the hoisting drum. 15. Operator must not leave his position at the controls while load is suspended. 16. Use guy rope to prevent swinging operation. 17. Only a regularly authorised operator should operate a crane. 18. The operator on duty should remain in the crane cabin for prompt service. 19. Under no circumstance one crane bump another.