Hazards involving material handling can lead to serious worker injuries and even death. In particular, workers are at risk for back injuries and muscular strains as well as injuries from being struck by, caught between or crushed by tools, materials, equipment or vehicles.
Proper material handling prevents these kinds of injuries.
Employers are responsible for protecting workers from material handling hazards.
Some of the hazards workers can be exposed to include:
- Strains and sprains from lifting loads improperly or from carrying loads that are too large or too heavy.
- Fractures and bruises caused by being struck by or caught between materials or by being caught in pinch points.
- Cuts, bruises and crushing injuries caused by falling materials that have been improperly stored or by incorrectly cutting ties or other securing devices.
- Critical or fatal injuries involving contact with moving equipment, vehicles, lifting devices and/or their unsecured loads that fall or collapse.
- Critical or fatal injuries involving falls from the same level or from heights when attempting to move, place, store or access materials in an unsafe manner.
A review of incidents that caused worker injuries found that:
- In 2012, musculoskeletal disorders comprised 39 per cent of all injuries involving lost time at work, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) Prevention Data Mart.
- Contact with objects and equipment accounted on average for more than 26 per cent of lost-time claims, according to the WSIB’s Enterprise Information Warehouse.
Together, these two types of injury have consistently accounted for almost 70 per cent of all lost time at work, according the WSIB. (Source: WSIB Enterprise Information Warehouse).