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Mechanical Material Handling Safety Dos and Don’ts

Mechanical Material Handling Safety Dos and Don’ts
Mechanical Material Handling Safety Dos and Don’ts

Mechanical Material Handling Safety Dos and Don’ts

Mechanical Material Handling Safety: Heavy materials which are not safe to handle manually must be handled by mechanical means and this includes lifting, transporting, stacking, loading and unloading by means of palletizer, chain pulley block, forklifts, conveyors or cranes and hoists. Mechanical material handling avoids a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders resulting from manual material handling.
Mechanical material handling helps increase levels of productivity in the workplace. There is no doubt that machines can do many tasks more quickly and efficiently in less time which human cannot do.
To operate these machines and tools, great skill is required, otherwise there is a potential risk of harming the personnel. Inspection, preventive maintenance and testing are very necessary to maintain these machines and tools. All lifting machines must have a valid OSHA inspection certificate by a competent person. The validity of most tools is six months, while lifting machines, including the forklift, have a certificate validity of one year.
Adequate material handling training and awareness is required to operate these tools and machine and can be provided in the form of safety dos and don'ts.
Before using any tools or machines, personnel should be aware of the hazards associated with each job and should know the safety measures to avoid unwanted incidents.

Hazards in Mechanical Material Handling

  1. Use of equipment and machinery without valid OSHA inspection certificates.
  2. Inadequate and wrong selection of handling tools and machines.
  3. Mechanical damage and faulty equipment.
  4. Congested space for operation.
  5. Incompetent operator.
  6. Overloading of machines, tools and equipment.
  7. Loading and transporting unbalanced materials.
  8. Poor rigging and lifting.
  9. Over speeding and unauthorized operation
  10. Use of machines without machine guard.

Risk in Mechanical material handling

  1. Poorly maintained tools, equipment and machines are prone to accidents due to failure of electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems that can cause serious injury to personnel and property damage.
  2. Risk of load failure due to inadequate and incorrect selection of handling tools and machinery.
  3. There is a risk of collision with property or personnel due to congested operating space.
  4. An untrained and unauthorized machine operator can cause serious accidents and injure other personnel.
  5. Risk of material failure during handling due to overloading of machines, tools and equipment.
  6. Equipment can fall due to improper loading and transportation, poor rigging and lifting, and over speeding by unauthorized operation.
  7. The use of machines without guards presents a high risk of serious injury.

Safe Mechanical Material Handling Do’s and Don’ts

Following Do’s and Don’ts of mechanical material handling can help to educate workers to prevent the injury and property damage.


  1. Use lifting tools and hoists of adequate capacity.
  2. Only authorized persons should use the equipment and machines.
  3. The identification number and the safe working load must be marked on all tools and hoists.
  4. Check the functioning of emergency switch, limit switches and over load alarm before actually starting the operation of lifting machines.
  5. Estimate the weight, distance, and hazards before lifting the load.
  6. Store lifting tools and hoists in a designated location.
  7. Use appropriate personal protective equipment
  8. Keep the speed slow while approaching at destinated location.
  9. Stay alert and maintain eye contact on load and nearby man movement.
  10. Special care should be taken when using the forklift and other portable hydraulic equipment.
  11. When lifting the load with slings, make sure that all sharp corners are padded with soft material.
  12. Barricade the area where the lifting operation is performed.
  13. Use appropriate plate clamps to lift metal plates.
  14. Use beam clamps for lifting beams.
  15. Use an appropriate guide rope while lifting and shifting the material.
  16. Apply an appropriate protective coating to keep tools in good condition.


  1. Don’t use faulty tools and tackles.
  2. Don’t stand under a suspended load.
  3. Don’t lift the metal plates by using web slings only.
  4. Don’t use the equipment for any other purpose than intended.
  5. Don’t allow personnel to move underneath lifted load.
  6. Don’t load the machines and equipment above its safe working load.
  7. Don’t use makeshift arrangement for lifting the material.
  8. Don’t use equipment, tools, hoist and tackles with a missing label or tag.
  9. Don’t drag chains, ropes or cables on the floor.
  10. Don’t use chemical contaminated web slings, wire sling or belt without re-inspection.
  11. Don’t use a hoist, slings, chains and other lifting tools and tackles that have lost more than 10% of its breaking strength.

When using power tools, hoists, and machinery, operators should be properly trained in mechanical handling of materials, which will help prevent accidents. All mechanical equipment should be periodically inspected and maintained by a competent person.

These do's and don'ts of mechanical material handling can be posted on the workplace to educate people about the hazards and risks associated with mechanical material handling.
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