Preventing Material Handling Accidents

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September 2001 Preventing Material Handling Accidents The TLC Companies Special points of interest: Remember! If you see a problem, do something about it. If you can t lift it, get help or use mechanical
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September 2001 Preventing Material Handling Accidents The TLC Companies Special points of interest: Remember! If you see a problem, do something about it. If you can t lift it, get help or use mechanical means for movement or transport. Don t take chances. This will often cost you a serious injury! Inside this issue: Back Safety for Truck Drivers 1 Key Back Safety Principles 3 Load Securement and Safe Material Handling Communication 4 Appendix A 5 4 Back Injury Prevention Handling materials is the second leading cause of injuries to drivers. Twenty percent or more of all driver injuries are the result of these causes. Additional information contained in this newsletter will help you and others to prevent these injuries. Become aware and exercise the techniques in this section to help prevent common strain, sprain and other types of injuries from handling materials. About 25% of all cases of employees being disabled result from back injuries. These injuries are expensive to treat, account for more than 31% of all injury costs, and result in more than 900,000 back injuries occur each year. As a truck driver, be aware of the following conditions and situations that makes you vulnerable to strains, sprains and overexertion injuries. Climbing in and out of your cab, and on and off trailers and docks. Lifting and carrying materials Pushing or pulling carts and dollies. Also, material handling results in a number of other injuries besides strains, including the following: Slips, trips or falls Back Safety for Truck Drivers This section outlines key tasks for drivers in exercising special care to avoid back strains. The section also gives drivers specific methods, based on medical interpretation, to accomplish these tasks in a safe manner. Below is a summary of tasks that nearly all drivers perform, and tips for performing the task in a safe manner. Driving Driving can be strenuous since it involves sitting Material Handling Lifting or otherwise moving and/or securing materials for transport or removal from the vehicle. Striking against or stepping on materials and protrusions Struck by falling materials Caught in, on, or between object being handled The following information will help you the driver, understand how material handling incidents occur, and how to prevent them. Remember, take responsibility for your own safety during situations and conditions that commonly cause these accidents material handling accidents! for long periods of time. Sitting creates pressure in the lower back region, and without stretching and periodic adjustments, can result in soreness or even permanent injury to your lower back. This also creates tension in the shoulder, forearm and upper arm. Tips for driving comfortably: Stretch before and after you enter the cab. Perform stretching exercises or follow your Doctor s prescription. Maintain good posture while driving. Adjust seat properly and maintain lower back sup- (Continued on page 2) Page 2 Back Safety (continued) (Continued from page 1) port. You should use a cushion, or if unavailable, use a rolled-up towel. Adjust eye movement each 3-5 seconds. Vary posture periodically to reduce static positioning. Take periodic breaks and stretch. Getting In and Out of the Cab This is perhaps the most dangerous task for truck drivers, since 1) it occurs often, 2) most drivers do not take the time to perform this task properly, and 3) drivers tend to be in a hurry when performing this task. Although this requires the driver to pull him or herself up, you should also let your legs and knees, not your back, do most of the work. Never jump out of the cab, and make sure you have a secure grasp and footing when doing this task. Use the three-point contact, either one hand and two feet, or two feet and one hand. Be aware of outside conditions such as weather, condition of steps, handholds and deck plates, and ground condition that could cause you to slip and strain yourself. Keep your back straight. Use a firm grip and be aware of your footing. Maintain your balance. Lifting Hoods This task is often very difficult and strenuous, especially with older trucks in your fleet. Truck hoods can weigh more than 200 lbs., and this task must be done correctly to minimize injury. Before lifting, unlatch the hood and pull up on the corners of the hood to break the seal of the hood alignment parts. Get a firm good grip on the hood and take a wide leg stance. Use your body s momentum to bring the hood toward you so it opens safely. Always keep your back straight, and maintain good balance. Be sure and check that your landing area is free from debris and slippery fluids. Pushing There are many circumstances where drivers must load or unload by pushing cages, carts and other devices. Pushing requires use of many muscle groups, so it is important to take precautions in performing this task. Determine the weight of the items you will be pushing and obtain the appropriate cart for the task. Place your arms shoulder length apart. Use good leg extension so the big leg muscles do more work than your arms and shoulders. Maintain your balance. Chart your course around obstructions and in a safe direction. Keep good footing and get a good grip. Lift with your shoulders and keep your back straight. Remember, even though pushing can cause injuries, it is still better to push correctly, than to pull. Pulling Hand Trucks Drivers are often required to pull different types of dollies, hand trucks and hand jacks. Doing this increases the possibility of strain and sprain injuries, as well as other types. Pulling generally creates more exposure to strains than pushing, so follow these tips to minimize the possibility of injury. Use your legs, shoulders and back when pulling. Get a firm grip, maintain good balance, and keep a wide stance. Maintain good momentum when you are underway so you don t get hung up on dockplates or inclines. Remove all obstacles from your path of travel. Chart your course. Sometimes a relatively simple task could leave people injured. Lifting and Lowering Bay Doors Sometimes a relatively simple task could leave people injured. Lifting and lowering trailer bay doors is a common task, but many drivers injure their shoulder or back. Sometimes they also experience struck by/ against from falling cargo. Follow some good common sense principles in completing this task. Maintain a good stance. Test the door so you know the amount of pressure you will need to apply. Peek under the door to determine objects and cargo that have shifted or fallen, so you can be prepared. Use straps if available. Get a firm grip. Keep good balance. Keep your back straight, using your legs as you are lifting or lowering the door. Handling Lift Gates This is one of the more dangerous tasks involving material handling for drivers. If your trailer is equipped with a lift gate, you especially need to maintain good posture. Also, it is best to obtain assistance when (Continued on page 3) Page 3 (Continued from page 2) possible. Place your legs shoulder width apart. Keep good posture, maintaining a squat position when lifting and lowering the gate. Get a good grip. Use proper footing. Keep your back straight. Get help when possible. Two people completing this task are better than one! Key Back Safety Principles Back Safety for Truck Drivers (the previous section) outlined key tasks for drivers. Obviously drivers are not limited to these tasks, and driver potential for back strains will occur in a varied number of circumstances. These situations are different for all drivers and are usually dependent on the following: Type of truck Type of trailer Responsibilities for loading and unloading Types of products and materials, including weight and load Equipment and tools available and used for product/material movement Manual or mechanical means to move loads Driver condition Weather conditions PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gloves, footwear, hard hats, etc. This section will outline key elements in back injury prevention for which all drivers should become aware. The summary or guide reviews important items concerning background, circumstances and preventative measures to assist you, the driver, to become more comfortable at your job, and to avoid injury. Back Disorders, D Problems and Common Causes of Injury The following causes most back and neck problems: Poor body mechanics Physical environment Physical condition Previous injuries Attitudes/stress Physical trauma Common Causes of Muscle Strains Lifting and twisting materials with your back versus pivoting with your feet Prolonged static bent postures, or sitting in the driver seat for extended periods of time, without movement, adjustments and stretching. Sudden, jerking motions Lifting beyond one s strength, i.e., lifting materials that are too heavy without help Exceeding one s flexibility limits by stretching or bending too far Going to work or getting into the cab without warming up Failure to stretch before moving cargo and other materials The Correct Way to Lift The first way is to use your head (common sense), but also follow this guideline: Size up the load Plan the job and check the path Establish a base of support and get loose Bend your knees Get a good grip Keep the load close Lift with your legs and keep the curves Pivot, don t twist Other Key Points to Remember Push, don t pull Keep loads away from danger zones (above shoulders and below the knees increase chances of strains) Plan rest stops; avoid muscle fatigue Lift and lower the load slowly, using proper lifting techniques Choose the safest and quickest route to your destination, but do not take shortcuts through areas with hazards. Do not reach to pick up an object Tighten abdominal muscles to improve support of the spine Don t obstruct your view Use assistive devices such as carts, dollies, pulleys, winches, forklifts, palletjacks, etc. when you have the opportunity Key Back Safety Principles Break the load into smaller loads when possible Ask for help and obtain help as often as possible, especially when moving heavy and/or awkward objects Good housekeeping is paramount to minimize back injuries as well as many other types of injuries Don t twist, but move the load in a smooth motion. Don t jerk the load. Exercise Don t forget, but you must consider some form of exercise, as this will minimize your chance of injury. Keep these points in mind, and follow this regimen: Always warm up before you enter and after you exit your truck Warm up periodically throughout the day, stretch each 1-2 hours Vigorous exercise for minutes 3 times a week (aerobics, running, swimming, etc.) Muscle tone exercise for minutes 3 times a week (calisthenics, weight training, etc.) Page 4 Load Securement and Safe Material Handling Cargo damage and accidents are very real, with cargo damage claims (measured losses alone) surpassing 200 million annually. Injuries from material handling and improper securement are an obvious concern on both flatbeds and closed trailers, and result in a number of accidents. Typical types of accidents include the following: Strains, many to the back, but also to other areas of the body. These are caused mainly by from lifting and moving materials, supplies and tarps. Sprains to the ankle(s), wrists, knees and other body parts. Struck-By from shifting and falling loads. Caught-in, on, between materials. Slips, Trips and Falls These types of accidents cause a number of injuries, both minor and severe. Nearly all are caused by being in a hurry or inattention and cause the trucking industry billions of dollars each year. They have a definite impact on TLC Companies and its clients. Clearly, efforts must be made to reduce injuries from load movement and improper cargo securement. Cargo securement training can help drivers better understand and respond to factors that can reduce cargo damage and help to prevent accidents. Improper load securement is a major reason for rising costs to cargo damage, and loss of control of the tractor-trailer. Shifting cargo also causes many driver injuries. The importance of training for load securement is three-fold: Prevent cargo damage Prevent vehicle accidents from shifting cargo, and Prevent injuries caused by shifting and movement of poorly stacked secured cargo. Drivers must become aware of the importance of cargo securement and their responsibility to protect and safely deliver their cargo without damage or injury. Why cargo securement is important and suggess- tions to prevent accidents Drivers should always follow good company practices for safe loading and unloading. In many instances, it may be your customer s responsibility (i.e., warehouse or dock employee) to load or unload trailers. Regardless who loads or unloads, it is still your responsibility as the driver to check proper load securement and safety. These guidelines will help you. Housekeeping is one of the least liked and often ignored tasks. Drivers must get into the habit of checking empty trailers for debris before loading. Grab a broom and sweep out the debris. Nails, slivers of wood from pallets, broken objects and other materials are often culprits when it comes to cargo damage and injuries. Check all aspects of the load, from front to back. This includes damage, stability, securement and general condition. If you are not loading, watch others so you are aware of the configuration. You may have to assist the loader with proper securement techniques. Refer to Federal Regulations for load securement (Part , Subpart I of FMCSR). This information is reviewed in Appendix A. Document all damage before you leave, but make it a habit to correct or replace unsafe or damaged items. The driver may not be involved in the selection of what goes into a trailer, but if there is any apprehension about the loading or securement process, contents of the load, or other issues, bring them to the attention of the shipper, loading supervisor, dispatcher and/or other appropriate person. Effectively plan the load according to critical securement guidelines. This will help prevent shifting cargo. The driver can often correct a shifting cargo problem by tightening tiedowns, re-blocking and bracing or moving dunnage to add more protection. If you are unable to correct the problem on the road or at a scheduled stop, reposition and secure the cargo at the next delivery point. Be especially aware of the dangers of securing loads on flatbeds or any open trailer. Here are just some of the hazards you will encounter: * Slips/Trips/Falls from trailers * Slips/Trips/Falls on trailers (particularly watch falling through tarps between cargo and slipping on Drivers should always follow good company practices for safe loading and unloading. tarps) * Falling and shifting materials * Weather, including high winds Communication on All drivers must be aware of cargo securement and how it influences them during the loading/unloading process and while driving. Among the measures to prevent cargo damage and injuries include the following: All employees should receive periodic cargo securement training. This training should cover basic methods and procedures for loading, inspecting and unloading cargo. Once it is signed for, each driver is fully responsible for cargo. The driver must account for any loss or damage. Secure and protect cargo and people. Make sure you chain, block, brace, tiedown and use other devices as required. Inspect cargo as good common sense and per FMCSR requirements and additional company guidelines. If in doubt, always ask for help and be certain the cargo is secure prior to leaving. Review and follow all company guidelines and policies regarding cargo securement. Schedule effectively. Less stops and less time on the road helps cargo reach its destination undamaged. When hauling fragile cargo, if possible, avoid known bad roads and routes with dangerous hills and curves. This will reduce the chances of falling cargo and an accident. Appendix A Federal Regulations for Load Securement Refer to Part Subpart I of FMCSR. The regulations are briefly paraphrased in the driver s workbook, but are reviewed in their entirety below: (b) Basic protection component. Each cargo-carrying motor vehicle must be equipped with devices providing protection against shifting or falling cargo that meet the requirements of either paragraph (b), (1), (2), (3), or (4) of this section. 1. Option A. The vehicle must have sides, sideboards or stakes, and a rear endgate, endboard or stakes. Those devices must be strong enough to assure that cargo will not shift upon, or fall from the vehicle. Those devices must have no aperture large enough to permit cargo in contact with one or more of the devices to pass through it. 2. Option B. B The vehicle must have at least one tiedown assembly that meets the requirements of for each ten linear feet of lading or fraction thereof. (However, a pole trailer or an expandable trailer transporting metal articles under the special rules in paragraph (c) of this section is required only to have two or more of those tiedown assemblies at each end of the trailer.) In addition, the vehicle must have as many additional tie-down assemblies meeting the requirements of as are necessary to secure all cargo being transported either by direct contact between the cargo and the tie-down assemblies or by dunnage which is in contact with the cargo and is secured by tiedown assemblies. Tiedown assemblies or dunnage in contact with sufficient exterior (including topmost) pieces of the cargo and securely holding each interior or lower piece will comply with this requirement. 3. Option C. (for vehicles transporting metal articles only) A vehicle transporting cargo which consists of metal articles must conform to either the rules in paragraph (b) (1), (2), or (4) of this section, or the special rules for transportation of metal articles set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. Paragraph (c) is special rules for metal articles. These rules apply to a number of metal items, such as coils ( (3) AND Miscellaneous Metal Articles ( (4). See both regulations for complete details, since securement of coils and metal articles are complex. 4. Option D. The vehicle must have other means of protection against shifting or falling cargo which are similar to, or at least as effective as, those specified in paragraph (b) (1), (2), or (3) of this section. Preventing Material Handling Accidents Back Injury Prevention
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