For many of the industries that Friedlander Group works with, materials handling claims make up the 1st or 2nd most frequent and expensive types of claims. Many of these claims are the result of lifting items that are too heavy or lifting items improperly. Lifting technique is certainly important but what might work better as a preventive strategy is the proper use of material handling equipment.
Hand trucks are a great tool to prevent materials handling injuries and a possible workers' compensation claim. Using a hand truck can help to move awkward or heavy loads and it can also reduce the number of trips if you have to move multiple, lighter loads. Following are some tips on using a hand truck.
- Before using any equipment, inspect it. Look for damage on the cross bars and vertical bar for cracks and other defects/damage. Look at the axel to be sure it is not cracked and check the tires to make sure they are not flat.
- When loading items onto the truck, keep the heaviest items on the bottom to lower the center of gravity.
- Stack items to the top of the back rest, but no higher. It will make the hand truck harder to manage and if you go too high, you may not be able to see past the items you are moving.
- Any items that are unstable or awkward should be strapped to the hand truck so that they do not topple off.
- If you are moving throughout a facility with the hand truck, plan your route to avoid obstacles or traffic.
- Avoid walking backwards with a hand truck. It is always easier on your back to push the truck rather than pull it.
- Using gloves can prevent some injuries because users often pinch their hands between the handles and a stationary object. Be careful going through tight spaces.
- When walking down a ramp or slope, keep the truck ahead of you. When going uphill, keep the truck behind you.
When moving a heavy item or multiple items, use a piece of equipment that will reduce strain and prevent claims. When manual lifting at work make sure you are following these 4 Tips to Prevent Workplace Injury Due to Manual Lifting