There's no OSHA regulation called "Shipping and Receiving," but the agency covers safety procedures for those jobs in topics like material handling and storage (29 CFR 1910.176-181) and walking and working surfaces (1910.21-30), which include clear aisles and ladder and dockboard safety.
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OSHA's personal protective equipment (PPE) regulation (1910.132-138) applies when employees’ jobs expose them to an injury risk that could be prevented or reduced by using gloves or other PPE.
If your workers handle hazardous materials shipments, you're regulated by OSHA and the federal Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT regulates how hazardous materials are classified, marked, and labeled for transport. That helps ensure that everyone knows what they're handling. The DOT also requires training for employees who have any role in hazardous materials transportation. That's designed to make sure that these materials are documented and handled properly and safely.
Shipping and receiving involves moving materials from place to place, which can cause back injuries. A safety training meeting on our sister website, Safety.BLR.com, says that in many cases, the solution is not to lift an item in the first place.
Tell your employees that before they move cartons or materials, they should first decide how to do it safely and most efficiently. Instruct them to test the load by lifting a corner. If it's too big, heavy, or awkward to be lifted and carried, they shouldn’t even try it. There are various alternatives:
If a forklift is needed, let the trained operator do the job and have other employees stay out of the way. Remind workers to always be alert for moving forklifts, especially at intersections, and to give the forklifts plenty of room to move, turn, load, and unload.
Hand trucks and dollies require some safety precautions, too. Instruct employees to:
Another easily preventable hazard is falling objects. Teach your workers to take a little extra time to place materials and cartons carefully on shelves, tables, and dollies, following such obvious principles as:
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Cutting tools and packaging materials also require basic preventive measures. Knives and box cutters are very sharp, so instruct workers to cover their edges when not using them. Keeping sharp tools sharp is also important. Trying to cut with a dull knife requires a lot of extra pressure and effort, which is unnecessary and makes the cutter more likely to slip.
Steel strapping requires special care. Have workers wear gloves and safety goggles, and cut with duck-billed shears or long-handled cutters that keep them at a safe distance from the strapping. Teach them to make square cuts with no sharp edges, and to not leave cut straps lying around.
Tomorrow we’ll focus in on loading docks and walk through seven steps to bolstering safety in those hazardous environments.
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