Are you prioritising safety in your materials handling?

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No matter what industry you work in, safety should always be your priority; this is especially important when it comes to materials handling. When something is mishandled, not only can it lead to damaged goods, but it can also lead to safety issues, which can have a flow-on effect that can lead to customer dissatisfaction and an unsavoury brand reputation. Ensuring safe materials handling comes from a combination of the equipment you use and the practices and processes you have in place.

When you have good materials handling that ensures the safety of both your employees and your goods, you can increase your productivity and efficiency to allow for incident-free smooth operations.

Keep reading below to discover products that can help you ensure that your materials handling processes are safe ones.



The easiest way to ensure safety in materials handling is by using proper equipment. While it would seem like common sense to use the right equipment every time, it doesn’t always end up being the case, and people will take the easy route instead of the safest route. This is where hazards related to lifting and carrying can arise. To counteract this, you need to ensure that the proper equipment is readily available and that everyone, regardless of whether they need to use it or not, understands how to operate the equipment properly and safely.

Your first step in deciding what the proper equipment is should be considering what needs to be moved and the best way to move it. For example, moving a pallet with something like a hand truck or trolley won’t work and will create a hazard. Conversely, moving a small box with a pallet truck isn’t really going to work either, but switch the two, and you have the best way to move each item.

However, it’s not as simple as just getting the right equipment. If people don’t know how to use it, they may end up using it incorrectly, which then becomes a hazard itself. The best and realistically the only way to counteract this is by training everyone on how to use the equipment correctly. By ensuring everybody knows how to use the equipment correctly, whether it be a trolley, cart, scissor lift or something else, you reduce the risk factor of hazards created due to operator error.

Materials handling equipment isn’t always going to be available. No matter the size of your business, having one piece of equipment for every single person involved in materials handling is not viable. When that is the case, often materials handling will have to be done manually, which will involve lifting and carrying, which, if not done correctly, can cause serious injury. Just like training people on how to use equipment, it is very beneficial that they also get training on the proper lifting and carrying techniques for situations where equipment aids aren’t available so they don’t end up injuring themselves.



Signage/safety signage and materials handling almost go hand in hand. While signage/safety signage isn’t exclusive to materials handling, it is a valuable aid that can make handling materials a safer process.

Most signs you will see in a warehouse are related to warehouse safety, such as danger and warning signs that alert workers to potential hazards. Signs like these can be beneficial to materials handling as they can alert workers to areas where equipment such as forklifts or vehicles are in use to remind them to watch out for them when working in that area. Other safety signs such as no entry, no forklifts or slippery surface signs can signal restricted areas or areas where a hazard is present to prevent workers from entering and causing harm to themselves or others when moving materials around the warehouse.

Along with safety signs, general signs, such as location or aisle and row signs, can help streamline the materials handling process. For instance, labelling your aisles and rows with a letter or a number can make locating items easier. Instead of having to try and remember where an item is usually located and potentially walking up multiple aisles and rows trying to find it, your material handlers will know exactly where to go to find or store an item based on the identification system you implement, which eliminates that costly search time.



The saying goes it’s better to be safe than sorry. This applies to almost anything you can think and materials handling is no exception.  While yes practising good materials handling techniques, undertaking training and using proper equipment can help make it a safer process, there are still elements of risk that arise when it’s not done with the addition of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Often at times it can feel like PPE is a hindrance to wear especially when it doesn’t fit properly or is not exactly right for the job, but without the risk of injury or something worse increases. You can do everything can to try and eliminate every single risk associated with materials handling but it’s never possible to fully eradicate them as there’s always the factor of the unknown. Things such as unpredictable mechanical failure or medical episodes can’t be controlled or prevented due to the unpredictability, but ensuring everyone who is part of the materials handling process has the proper PPE can help reduce the severity of the damage caused by these unpredictable events. Requiring workers to wear items such as hard hats can help prevent or minimise head injuries that can be caused by falling items. Gloves can help reduce cuts and burns that could be caused by handling certain items and boots with steel caps can protect worker’s toes from dropped items or being run over by a forklift, trolley, pallet truck or another piece of materials handling equipment.


Safety is never something you should compromise on, and incorporating some of the techniques and practices above is a step in the right direction towards safety in your materials handling processes, which can then lead to an increase in productivity and efficiency to help you create smoother operations.


At All Storage Systems, we stock an extensive range of materials handling products that can help you enhance your safety; check out our full range today, or alternatively, contact our expert team to discuss how we can help.

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