Construction Safety: Material Handling Operations

To start any construction job, heavy equipment operators are preparing the job site for the upcoming project. From the early stages of job site development to the ongoing construction and the final stages of clean up and disposal, material handling equipment is essential to your construction site. 

Keep your construction crew safe by implementing these measures on your site. #MaterialHandling

Material handling operations are key to having a productive workplace and completing the job in a timely matter. Keeping your site safe is critical to protecting your equipment, and more importantly your crew. 

Understanding Common Material Handling Hazards

The material handling industry is not short of health and safety hazards. Here are common risks, according to OSHA. 

  • Improper lifting injuries including back strains and sprains.
  • Bruises and fractures from being stuck between objects or getting struck by heavy objects. 
  • Injuries caused by falling objects

Minimizing the Risks

Implementing a safety program is an important component of protecting your employees. A successful safety plan of action includes the following:

  • Personal protective equipment requirements
  • Safety training programs
  • Caution signs and instructions in potentially dangerous work areas
  • Following limits for forklifts and other heavy-duty equipment
  • Careful instructions for safely lifting heavy objects
  • Material handling equipment maintenance

Safe Storage and Disposal of Materials

Storing materials improperly can result in serious injury. Here are the OSHA guidelines for material storage:

  • Sustain safe storage areas by removing any trip or fire hazards
  • When storing materials inside, keep them at least six feet from hoistways and 10 feet away from exterior walls
  • Provide employees with lifelines and safety belts

At the end of your construction project, you don’t want to keep unused materials sitting around. If you will be dropping materials from high ground, enclose the area or use a chute.

Pro Tip: In your construction site, be sure to have signs warning of falling materials to protect workers walking nearby.

Another essential requirement is to provide the appropriate bins for trash, hazardous waste, and recyclables. 


It’s no secret that material handling worksites are filled with potential risks. Material handling safety programs and training your employees is necessary to keep your crew safe. Questions about construction safety? Connect with our heavy equipment experts on Facebook.