Handling Hazardous Materials Safely: A Look At The Essential Role Of Material Handling

in Material
Material handling is an important part of any process. Manufacturing can only be as productive as a business's material handling system can move raw materials and finished products. When hazardous materials are used in a production processes, safety becomes an even more important factor. No matter how fast a process needs to move goods, safety has to be the top priority.

When used properly, hazardous substances do not have to pose an undue risk to workers. Containers and drums that are moved and used safely will not cause accidents or harm.

Hazardous Substances Transportation And Usage - Safety 101

It is important to never roll a drum along its edge. No matter what a person may claim about their ability to move drums in this way, it is simply not safe and can easily lead to an accident. Even if a drum only has to be moved a few feet, always use the proper industrial equipment. At a bare minimum, use a drum dolly or cart to securely move hazardous substances.

No matter what method is used to transport hazardous substances, only move containers that are full and still sealed or ones that have been emptied and closed again. In this way, if a container does fall, it will either be empty or the seal will hold, minimizing the chance for injuries and damage to other industrial equipment. The best way to avoid having to move a half empty container is to designate areas where a drum can be placed and used completely without having to be moved to another process area or machine.

Lifting Operations

Lifting operations are very common when it comes to hazardous material handling. Drums are often lifted and placed onto carts, casters, and pallets or else are lifted in order to be dispensed into a process machine. As with any lifting procedure and especially with harmful substances, safety and stability is paramount.

A complete rigging system must be designed with a safety factor in order to carry its rated load. For example, use industrial equipment rated at twice the capacity of the expected load. This is to ensure a safety factor to prevent a failure in any part of the rigging from the hoist rings to the chains and the lift itself. Inspect every component on a regular basis and repair or replace any component that is showing wear. Preventative maintenance is the best way to prevent a failure in a rigging system.

Moving Drums And Containers With Casters

Material handling on casters is very common. Most lifting operations are used to move goods onto a caster or cart in order to wheel them to a production area. Stable caster systems should always utilize at least four casters and preferably a total of five casters. Swivel mounts can be used to add the ability to maneuver in any direction and in tight corners.

Casters are typically temporary means for transporting goods. They are not stable and even locked casters are not an adequate permanent solution. The best and most safe way to handle casters is to remove the goods and place them on a stable and stationary platform. This way, the containers can be used without having to worry about a caster lock failing.

More Ways To Lift Containers And Other Industrial Equipment

There are also accessories that can be utilized for material handling. Forklift attachments for handling drums can allow any lift to handle barrels and containers and safely transport them through a facility. Drums can also be loaded onto specially designed pallets that include spill basins and then moved with a regular forklift or pallet jack. There are also attachments and specially made pallet jacks to safely move single barrels at a time.

Other industrial equipment includes carts and platforms. These combine portability with stability for moving small amounts of hazardous substances without the need for a jack or lift. Stationary platforms are designed to store barrels as well.

In addition, self contained movers are available that are designed for complete material handling. These units are capable of carrying, moving, and lifting barrels with just a single piece of machinery. They incorporate hydraulic lifts and booms in order to pickup and dispense barrels as well as reposition them onto platforms and other material handling industrial equipment. Powered units are also available for heavy duty work.

In the end, there are numerous options for material handling so that any job task can be performed safely and effectively.
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Greg Palmer has 1 articles online


Greg Palmer is an author for Reid Supply, an industrial distribution company with a 60 year history supplying customers in all 50 states and over 40 countries with industrial equipment and material handling solutions.

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Handling Hazardous Materials Safely: A Look At The Essential Role Of Material Handling

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This article was published on 2011/01/11