Keep your workplace and workers safe when moving heavy items using powered equipment by observing these safety precautions.
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Using mechanical equipment when moving or storing heavy materials makes work quicker and easier. However, it can also increase potential injuries and accidents if used improperly. Take, for instance, a forklift truck. When transporting materials in and out of the construction site, the driver must strictly follow the speed limits and must only drive in their designated path to avoid damage to property and pedestrian accidents. That is why it is important in construction sites to designate someone who has undergone a traffic control course to plan and implement traffic control and protection within the site.
Although operators may have the knowledge to operate the powered equipment, they must always take precautions when moving, stacking, and storing materials properly. When using forklifts or other powered industrial trucks to pick up heavy materials, workers must strictly observe the best practices.
- Make sure to position the load on the center of the fork and close to the mast as possible to reduce the tipping of the truck and falling of the load.
- Do not overload. Make sure not to exceed the maximum capacity of the truck. Check the manufacturer’s manual if you are not sure.
- Avoid putting extra weight on the rear of the counterbalanced forklift.
- When transporting materials, make sure to adjust the load to the lowest position.
- Always follow the operational requirements. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for information.
- Whenever possible, check if the stacked loads are piled and cross-tiered.
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Failure to follow the project safety guidelines on stacking materials can result in potential accidents. Workers can become seriously injured by fallen materials or collapsed load. Prevent these unfortunate events when stacking materials by doing the following safety precautions:
- Stacking lumber should not be more than 20 feet high if using a forklift.
- All nails should be removed from used lumber before stacking.
- Stack and level lumber on solidly supported bracing.
- Avoid storing pipes and bars in racks facing the main aisles to prevent potential hazards for passersby when removing supplies.
- Bags and bundles should be stacked in interlocking rows to keep them secure.
During the stacking of materials, make sure to follow these safety practices:
- Boxed materials should be banded properly or secured with cross-ties or shrink plastic fibre.
- Barrels, drums, and kegs should be stacked symmetrically. Their bottom tiers should also be blocked to prevent them from rolling if stored on their sides.
- Planks, plywood dunnage sheets, or pallets should be placed between each tier of the barrels, drums, and kegs to create a firm, flat, stacking surface.
- The bottom tier of the barrels, drums, and kegs should also be chocked to avoid shifting in either direction, especially if you are stacking two or more tiers high
Other safety precautions also include:
- Painting the walls or posts with stripes can also help indicate the maximum stacking height.
- Never stack materials beyond the height limitation
- When stacking loose bricks, it should not be more than 7 feet high. When the stacks are 4 feet in height, make sure to taper them back 2 inches for every foot high above the 4-ft level. For masonry blocks stacked higher than 6 feet, taper them back one-half block for each tier above the 6-ft level.
In the event of an injury due to a moving accident, call one of the top law firms in Toronto and Whitby. An injury lawyer, like Michelle Linka Law, will offer you the assistance you need to get maximum compensation for a personal injury.
However, prevention is better than any treatment or cure. Strictly adhere to best practices so you and your team can avoid incidents altogether.