To varying degrees, all employees in numerous workplaces take part in materials handling. Consequently, some employees are injured. In fact, the mishandling of materials is the single largest cause of accidents and injuries in the workplace. Most of these accidents and injuries, as well as the pain and loss of salary and productivity that often result, can be readily avoided. Whenever possible, mechanical means should be used to move materials to avoid employee injuries such as muscle pulls, strains, and sprains. In addition, many loads are too heavy andior bulky to be safely moved manually. Various types of equipment, therefore, have been designed specifically to aid in the movement of materials: cranes, derricks, hoists, powered industrial trucks, and conveyors.
The operator must exercise intelligence, care, and common sense when selecting and using slings. Slings and hardware must be selected in accordance with their intended use, based upon the size and type of load, and the environmental conditions of the workplace. All slings and hardware must be visually inspected before use to ensure their effectiveness.
A well-trained operator can prolong the service life of equipment and reduce costs by avoiding the potentially hazardous effects of overloading equipment, operating it at excessive speeds, taking up slack with a sudden jerk, and suddenly accelerating or decelerating equipment. The operator can look for causes and seek corrections whenever a danger exists. He or she should cooperate with coworkers and supervisors and become a leader in carrying out safety measures-not merely for the good of the equipment and the production schedule but, more importantly, for the safety of everyone concerned.