In 2012, an average of 672 Canadian workers were injured on the job every single day. This is a hard statistic to fathom, but it is the reality of the situation, especially for blue-collar workers.

Many of us, sitting at desks, complain about aches and pains in our necks and wrists. But those who work in construction, factories, mines and all of the other hard labour industries are at constant risk of suffering a workplace injury.

This is especially true for workers who need to handle certain materials. Thankfully, when it comes to material handling, there’re plenty of solutions that can help you avoid a workplace injury. Nobody ever wants to get on workman’s compensation, no matter how generous it is.

For the most part, there are five common ways to get hurt when handling materials: carrying, lifting, lowering, pulling and pushing. Your objective is to minimize these actions. Be careful out there! It’s a tough place.

Here are five material handling solutions to avoid workplace injuries:

1. Utilize Equipment as Much as Possible

Every factory or facility has equipment to assist you in your job. The equipment will ensure that you’re not breaking your back like your grandfather did back in the day. Therefore, when you see equipment, be sure to use it. Don’t let it just sit there and think that you can lift or push with your bare hands – remember, this will ensure you get injured.

2. Better Organize Your Surroundings

A common reason why workers who handle specific types of material get hurt is because their surroundings are not properly organized. Do you get the hint?

Before you start your workday, or perhaps before you finish your shift, you should organize your immediate surroundings. Whether it is to make sure everything is at eye level or to ensure that you don’t need to bend many different times, organization is key to avoid a workplace injury.

3. Create a To-Do List for Day-to-Day Tasks

One of the best ways to get your work done and to remain safe at all times is to establish a to-do list for your day-to-day tasks.

By having a to-do list, you can plan your day, get ready for the job and guarantee that you have the necessary equipment for the task at hand. Before you know it, you’ll ask the question: why didn’t I have a to-do list when I first started?

4. Keep Your Materials at Work Level

Every time you’re handling materials, you will want it at work level. This means that you don’t need to bend, lift or pull dangerous or heavy materials. You will want every single item at eye level so that you can use your entire body rather than certain parts.

5. Minimize the Distance in the Move

Are you getting a route ready for the courier? Are you putting together products? Are you building a home? Whatever your job may be, you will want to minimize the distance between you and the particular task.

This can oftentimes be difficult to achieve, but if you plan your gigs in advance, you can make sure that you’re not moving too much, which is something that will increase your chances of injury and conserve your energy. If you minimize the distance, you will maximize your productivity.

The heavy-duty workplace has definitely evolved over the last few decades. Rather than relying on your bare hands and those submarines you call feet, you can depend on equipment and machinery to allow you to handle materials without too much pain and difficulty.

Today’s workplaces have invested in a wide array of material handling solutions. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with some of your solutions and tips to enable your own safety and give your productivity a little bit of a boost.

The goal of every worker is to remain safe at all times. You want to go home unscathed.


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