Guide to Material Handling Safety Equipment

Workplace safety is important in all industries, but it is especially important for those in the material handling industry.

In a recent publication, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) stated that the fatal injury rate for the warehouse industry rate is higher than the national average [1].

Similarly, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) identified the Transportation and Warehouse industry as the second most fatal industry in the entire workforce [2]. In addition to fatal workplace injuries, material handling professions were also overrepresented in non-fatal workplace incidents. The BLS reported that laborers, freight, stock, and material movers had the highest number of injuries that resulted in days away from work (DAFW) with 64,160 cases in 2019 alone [3].

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Safety Risks in Material Handling Industries

Material handling is a broad term that can refer to a wide range of occupations. It involves moving, storing, or loading materials in manufacturing, industrial, and transportation settings. Safety risks vary depending on the industry. Here is a breakdown of the sectors that involve material handling and their potential safety risks.

Warehouses. OSHA lists forklifts and improper stacking of products as the primary safety concerns for warehouses [4]. In a setting where people and small-wheeled vehicles are constantly moving back and forth, there is the possibility that collisions or accidents can occur.  

Distribution Centers. These are busy hubs where people, carts, and materials are moving around in many different directions. The primary safety concern is the possibility of collisions between people, carts, or hand trucks. Wall guards and corner guards could serve to protect person-to-person impact.

Loading Docks. Loading and unloading materials into vehicles or shipping containers involve loading materials onto carts or dollies that must then maneuver over curbs, steps, or other obstacles. The risk is that materials could fall and potentially injure workers. Safety ramps could provide a smooth surface that would reduce the risk of injury while moving materials.

Flammable Chemical Storage Areas. The biggest risk when handling flammable chemicals is an accident that could lead to combustion. Safety equipment that creates a barrier between materials and staff—like machine guards or steel bollards—could help prevent collisions.

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The Importance of Proper Safety Equipment

Because these occupations and settings are so dangerous, it is of paramount importance that those in these industries make a concerted effort to follow the proper safety guidelines. OSHA reported one of the primary reasons for workplace injury in the warehouse industry was the failure to use proper protective equipment or follow safety guidelines [5].  

This means that the high injury rates in these areas could be partially mitigated through proper safety equipment. In addition to protecting personnel, proper safety equipment like column protectors or machine guards will protect valuable assets from being damaged. Eagle has a variety of items uniquely designed to protect workers and assets in plants, warehouses, stores, and factories. Here is a description of some of the most common material handling safety equipment that can help to safeguard your workplace.

Bollard Posts

Bollard posts come in multiple varieties and serve many functions. Interior, steel bollard posts can create a barrier between materials and staff in busy warehouses. Exterior bollard post covers feature a safety-yellow finish that makes them ideal for directing vehicle traffic and they can serve as a protective barrier in commercial settings.

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Post Covers

These high-density polyethylene covers come in a variety of colors as well as a fluted or decorative finish. Post covers eliminate the need for maintaining or painting concrete posts. Not only can they serve as a protective impact barrier, but different color post covers can function as visual indicators too. 

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Column Protectors

These protectors are made from blow-molded, high-density polyethylene. In the event of a collision between staff, tow motors, forklifts, or other vehicles, column protectors can reduce the severity of the impact by providing a protective barrier. Column protectors are also resistant to most chemicals and are ideal for any column in industrial or commercial settings.

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Machine Guards

Machine guards create a barrier between high traffic areas and machinery in industrial or manufacturing settings. Their baked-on powder coat finish makes them highly visible, and they are constructed of schedule 10 steel for maximum durability. They feature pre-drilled holes for easy installation.

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Ramps

Constructed of high-density polyethylene, Eagle ramps provide a smooth surface with a gradual slope for moving materials over curbs or other obstacles. These ramps feature a slightly raised surface for maximum traction and ramp walls to prevent carts or dollies from sliding off.

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Dockplates

These help bridge the gap between trailers and loading docks. Their HDPE construction makes them lightweight yet durable. They feature a raised surface, beveled entry and exit edges, aluminum legs, and two handles. These dockplates are compatible with two- and four-wheeled dollies, hand trucks, and carts.

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Corner Guards

Corner guards can be placed along the corners of walls as well as overhead on door frames, vertical columns, or horizontally as rack guards. They feature a yellow, high-visibility, HDPE construction, and they function as an impact barrier between machinery and traffic.

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Wall Protectors

Collisions involving dollies, carts, or even forklifts are common in warehouses. These collisions can not only result in injuries but damage to facilities as well. Wall protectors serve as impact barriers in industrial and commercial settings. They come in sets of two and are ideal for door frames, walls, pallet racks, and building corners.

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Rack Guards

Eagle rack guards protect racks and shelving from being damaged by forklifts or pallet trucks. They feature a snap on design for easy installation and a narrow profile that will not interfere with storage.

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Industrial Waste Bins

Industrial Waste Bins

These HDPE carts function as spill containment waste bins or as general-purpose industrial waste handling. Their ergonomic design makes them easy to maneuver, and they feature a double-walled hinged lid with a hold-down tab.

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industrial carts

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Find the Right Material Handling Equipment

Whatever the setting or industry, Eagle has offered affordable protection to a range of industries for nearly 30 years. Our products are designed to keep your staff and facilities safe and are 100 percent made in the USA. Take a look at our complete line of material handling safety equipment, and find the safety equipment that’s right for you and your workplace.

 

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