It is essential to implement good material handling practices to ensure the safety of employees and goods in warehouses. This in turn contributes to improvements in supply management as it encourages manual handlers to deliver faster and record unusual orders. In this post, some of the key aspects related to manual material handling practices are discussed which businesses can make use of to operate their warehouses a little more smoothly and efficiently.
#1: Encourage Use of Right Tools
Manual material handling involves lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, holding and restraining of a variety of goods. Incorrect manual handling practices commonly cause lower back pain and injuries. Providing the right tools, especially for handling heavy goods, helps prevent accidents and injuries to a great extent.
#2: Display Safe Material Handling Tips
It is a good idea to display tips for handling material safely in several locations around the warehouse. This helps workers to quickly refer to the display if he/she has a question.
#3: Organise the Warehouse and Strategically Stack Shipments
After determining the best way of handling the material/goods being dealt with, the next step is to take advantage of pallet racking systems for storing goods. Used pallet racking systems often provide a great deal of cost benefits when compared to new ones. Pallet racking systems also help to speed up loading/unloading activities. A number of aspects have to be considered in order to organise the warehouse. Some of them are listed below:
– Best places where products can be stored for easy access, especially those that are to be handled manually
– Whether small or bulk quantities of goods are to be handled
– The method of stock rotation to be used
– Size of the pallet and depth of the pallet racking system
Finally, it is important to stack goods in such a way that handlers have to neither bend down nor reach overhead for handling goods so that injuries caused by repetitive motion can be eliminated.
#4: Educate Workers by Arranging Material Handling Training Sessions
Training sessions are essential to teach workers the right way of handling different types of goods and using the right tools for various material handling jobs, including heavy items. This is because workers may assume that they are lifting heavy goods correctly, but actually repeated performance of an incorrect lifting technique may be causing damage to their backs. Refresher courses help workers to learn new ways of staying safe in the workplace.
#5: Designate Incoming and Outgoing Traffic Lanes
Earmark separate lanes within the warehouse for goods that are being brought in and those that are being sent out. If there is a limitation of space in the warehouse, road traffic rules may be employed to ensure consistency and prevent accidents.
#6: Keep All Manual Handling Equipment in Good Condition
Keeping all tools used for manual handling of goods in proper working condition helps not only to ensure safety in the workplace but also to improve productivity by reducing the handling time. Therefore, it is important to invest in repairs as well as replacements.
Educating and encouraging workers to improve upon manual handling practices that are being currently followed in the organisation coupled with comprehensive documentation goes a long way in ensuring a safe and productive working environment in warehouses.