Safety tips for New York material handlers

Both material handling employees and employers should be aware of the basics of maintaining a safe workplace to better avoid disaster.

While workplace accidents can happen in any industry or profession in New York, material handlers are at an increased risk due to the sheer physical aspect of the job. Employees and employers alike should be well aware of how to remain safe on the job to keep avoidable accidents and injuries at bay and workers operating at full physical strength and ability.

Use the right tools, accessories and equipment

Not only should material handlers know when to use holders, handlers, gloves, forearm protection and the like, employers should be sure they have such equipment on hand and that it is in good condition. There should also be enough handlers scheduled for each shift that workers have at least one person to help lift heavy items to better avoid injuries. Additionally, such workplaces should have dress codes that require employees to wear proper footwear, such as work boots or safety shoes.

Stay well-educated

New hires should receive thorough training before being put to work in common work environment hazards, dangers and more so they are aware of which precautions to take and when. Employees should also receive continued education whenever there are new regulations or threats discovered. Material handlers might also need a refresher to remind them of basic dangers and safety measures.

Practice proper storage and handling of hazardous materials and chemicals

Workers should know how to identify materials and chemicals that are flammable, poisonous, caustic or otherwise dangerous. Employers need to educate handlers on how to handle as well as store these materials, such as dividing chemicals and materials that should not be mixed together.

Know how to use mechanical equipment

Only employees who have been fully trained on forklifts, pallet jacks, vertical carousels and all other types of equipment commonly used in material handling should use such equipment. This training should consist of equipment weight limits, common equipment dangers and tasks the equipment should be used for. Such equipment should be well-maintained so it operates at peak functionality, and to reduce the possibility of an accident or injury.

Focus on ergonomics

Ergonomics is not just for office jobs. When it comes to material handling, employers should pay close attention to the positioning of stationary equipment and storage, consider lifts to take some of the burden off an employee's back and think about how easy or difficult materials are to move around.

Because sometimes there is no way to tell whether safety measures are enough in New York material handling work environments, employees should know where to turn if they are ever injured while on the job. Sitting down with an attorney to discuss legal options is always a good bet after workplace incidents.