Growing up in a house full of girls, I unofficially took on the role as my father's only son. So when the time came to fix a leaky sink or change the oil in the family car, it was me that stood by my father's side. Thanks to him and everything he taught me, I am now able to take care of myself and my children in a way that not everyone can. I have tried over the years to engage my own daughter in the same way my father engaged me, but she's currently more interested in playing with dolls than fixing potholes. After my father passed away last year, I vowed to find a way to pass on everything he taught me, this blog is my way of keeping that promise. I truly hope that you learn as much as I have over the years.
In many industries and workplaces, you may be asked to handle heavy, toxic, or otherwise potentially dangerous materials. This is just an everyday part of many job descriptions. The good news, however, is that most any material can be handled safely, if you take the right precautions. To reduce your risk when handling hazardous materials, simply follow a few simple tips and always make sure, of course, that you are utilizing the correct material handling equipment.
Choose Machinery when Possible
First things first, understand that in many cases, items are not dangerous because of what they are composed of, but simply because of their bulk and weight. Heavy lifting can be hazardous if it's not done correctly. Your best bet is to, whenever possible, utilize tools in place of manual lifting.
Material handling equipment, such as pallet jacks and fork lifts will always reduce or even eliminate strain on your body when engaging in heavy lifting. If tools aren't an option for a particular job or in your workplace, utilize other helpful strategies, such as team lift, and make sure you wear a protective brace to assist you with lifting safely.
Utilize Personal Protective Equipment
Whether you're engaging in heavy lifting, transporting hazardous materials, or even just sitting around in the workplace area, it is imperative that you wear all of the proper and required personal protective equipment. Your employer may provide this equipment for you if you cannot get it yourself. Either way, do be aware that, depending on your state and the job that you are doing, there are laws in place to mandate what personal protective equipment you must be wearing. These laws are designed for your safety, so make sure you follow them.
As mentioned, laws do vary from state to state and from job to job, but, in general, all workers should wear at least the following:
Keep Materials Nearby
Finally, use common sense on the jobsite. If you know you are going to have to move or use items, keep them close at hand. That not only means less work for you, but it also reduces the risk of injury, strain, or other issues.
It is your employer's job to maintain a safe working environment and to provide you with the items you need for safety, so if you notice these rules are not being followed, it's important to speak up. After all, you and everyone else deserve a safe working environment!