Avoid the Sting: Keep Workers Safe from Insects


There are many hazards that outdoor workers face during the summer months. In addition to those hazards related to the heat and extremely hot weather, workers also have to deal with insects that can inflict harm.

Stinging insects, such as bumble bees, wasps and hornets, can cause just temporary injury most of the time. But sometimes, insect stings can be serious.

Oftentimes, a sting can cause pain, swelling, itching and redness where the sting has occurred, according to CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety). Typically, if a mild allergic reaction occurs, it lasts a few days.

There is the possibility of a more severe reaction, which can cause anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock). Symptoms include hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site; swollen eyes and eyelids; and wheezing. Shock and cardiac arrest are among many other additional symptoms.

CCOHS suggests not working in an area where these insects are seen. But if you must, follow these tips before beginning work in that location.

  • Check for signs of activity or a hive or nest. If you see a number of insects flying around, check to see if they are entering/exiting from the same place. If so, it is probably a nest or food source.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and closed-toed boots or shoes. Tape pant legs to boots/socks, and sleeves to your gloves. Consider wearing an extra layer of clothing.
  • Power tools (lawnmowers, weed eaters, chainsaws) aggravate insects. Be aware that tools can provoke insects and cause them to swarm.

When you need to provide workers with the supplies they need to stay safe on the job, count on Seton. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit http://www.seton.ca and we can help you select the safety products you need.

Safe Lifting Rules: Preventing Back Injuries on the Job


One of the most common injuries associated with manual materials handling (MMH) is a low back injury. While unnatural postures and repeated movements can cause these injuries, the implementation of safe work practices can reduce the occurrence and severity of such injuries.

When possible, mechanical aids should be used. In addition, reducing MMH demands can help. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers these suggestions:

  • Decrease the weight of handled objects to acceptable limits.
  • Reduce the weight by assigning two people to lift the load or by splitting the load into two or more containers. Using light plastic containers also decreases the weight of the load.
  • Change the type of MMH movement. Lowering objects causes less strain than lifting. Pulling objects is easier than carrying. Pushing is less demanding than pulling.
  • Change work area layouts. Reducing the horizontal and vertical distances of lifting substantially lowers MMH demands. Reducing the travel distances for carrying, pushing or pulling also decreases work demands.
  • Assign more time for repetitive handling tasks. This reduces the frequency of handling and allows for more work/rest periods.
  • Alternate heavy tasks with lighter ones to reduce the build-up of fatigue.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to keep workers injury free? What are some additional strategies that have helped your workers?

Avoid Distracted Driving Mistakes: Keep Your Workers Focused and Off the Phone


Most provinces prohibit the use of hand held cell phones and text messaging while driving.

While your workers likely want to be accessible at all times, even when they are on the road, it’s important to remind them to avoid being distracted while driving. This especially means they need to avoid the improper use of their cell phones.

The Canada Safety Council offers these suggestions on staying safe behind the wheel while managing cell phone use.

  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Hold the wheel at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.
  • Use a hands-free model. But still keep your conversation short, since talking can be a distraction.
  • Stay in your lane. Don’t drift into another lane while talking on your phone.
  • Use voice or speed dialing. This requires less handling of the phone.
  • Never dial while driving. Dial manually only when stopped.
  • Never text message while driving. Pull over if you need to respond to a text message.
  • Take a message. Let your voice mail answer you calls.
  • Know when to stop talking. Keep conversations brief.
  • Keep the phone in its holder. Make sure your phone is securely in place.
  • Don’t take notes while driving. Pull off the road if you need to write.
  • Be a wireless samaritan. Use your phone to report crimes and emergencies.
  • Drive defensively. Be prepared for unexpected actions by other drivers, as well as changing driving conditions.


Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls: Keep Workers Safe on the Job


According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), falls cause more than 42,000 worker injuries each year.

Since slips can be caused by wet surfaces or even loose rugs, good housekeeping can easily prevent such scenarios. It can also help prevent trips that can be caused by clutter, an obstructed view, or even poor lighting. Proper footwear can also help keep feet firmly on the ground.

CCOHS offers these suggestions for reducing the risk of slipping and tripping:

  • Take your time and pay attention to where you are going
  • Adjust your stride to a suitable pace for the walking surface and tasks you are doing
  • Walk with feet pointed slightly outward
  • Make wide turns at corners
  • Keep walking areas clear from clutter or obstructions
  • Keep flooring in good condition
  • Always use installed light sources that provide sufficient light for your tasks
  • Use a flashlight if you enter a dark room without light
  • Ensure things you carry or push don’t prevent your view of obstructions or spills

Respirator Upkeep: A Little TLC Goes A Long Way

3M™ 6000 Series Respirators and Filters

A respirator is an important piece of safety equipment in the workplace. Respirators are used to protect workers who are exposed to hazards in the air such as dust, mold, allergens, airborne chemicals, etc, and are considered mandatory under these specific hazardous circumstances.

These dangers may cause lung impairment, cancer, other diseases, or even death. In North America alone, an estimated five million workers are required to wear respirators in the workplace. Which is why choosing the proper protective breathing apparatus is essential for you and your workers’ safety.

Like any equipment, respirators need maintenance. Your face masks should always be in good working condition for them to be effective in keeping you safe. Proper cleaning and maintenance should be done regularly before and after use based on the manufacturer’s specifications. But even with a manufacturer’s instruction present, you also need to focus on four main aspects of respirator care that will help ensure your breathing apparatus will work every single time.


Respirators must be cleaned after every use as indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions or according to the following alternative procedure:

  1. Remove the cartridges, filters, canisters, or any other component that are not to be washed.
  2. Wash the respirator in warm water using a mild cleanser that contains a disinfecting agent.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the respirators in warm running water.
  4. Air dry the respirator or hand-dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  5. Reassemble the face piece and replace cartridges, filters, and canisters if necessary.
  6. Test the respirator to make sure all parts are working properly.
  7. Store the respirators properly in a sealed bag to keep off dusts and germs.

You can use non-alcoholic disposable wipes to clean your respirators in between uses during the workday, but respirators that are not individually assigned must be cleaned and sanitized before the next worker uses it.


Workers are responsible for inspecting their respirators before and after use in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The worker must check the:

  • Condition of component parts
  • Tightness of connections
  • End-of-service-life indicator
  • Shelf-life dates
  • Proper functioning of alarms, regulators, and other warning systems or devices

Defective or non-functioning respirators must be identified and tagged as “Out of Service” and must be removed from service until repaired or replaced.

Repair and Test

Only qualified persons shall make repairs or adjustments to respirators. These trained personnel must only use the respirator manufacturer’s NIOSH-approved parts designed for the respirator. Any attempt to replace components, make adjustments or repairs outside of manufacturer’s recommendations should not be done. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) must be tested, adjusted, and/or repaired only by the manufacturer or a professional repair service. Defective breathing equipment must be removed from service immediately for repair or discard.


Storing respirators near pesticide, on a work bench, in an enclosed cab, or even on the dashboard of a truck is dangerous. Cartridges can absorb anything from smoke to engine exhaust and may not work effectively on the next use. After inspection, cleaning or repair, you must store respirators in a way that will:

  • Protect them from dust, contamination, sunlight, extreme temperatures, chemicals , and other harmful conditions.
  • Prevent the face piece and/or valves from becoming deformed
  • Follow all storage precautions issued by the manufacturer
  • Keep them accessible to the work area but not in a place where it can be easily contaminated or inaccessible during an emergency.
  • Be easily identified by clearly labelling the respirator’s storage container as emergency equipment

Specialized respirators such as airline, SCBA or PAPR require additional inspection, maintenance and cleaning procedure. These equipment have a different respirator care checklist.

Wearing respirators is a good, simple solution that just works. However, a better one is keeping the workplace free from airborne hazards. With the proper breathing equipment, this can be easily achieved. Also, make sure that engineering and/or administrative controls are implemented. A comprehensive respiratory protection program will ensure that you and your workers are protected from any respiratory hazards that can occur in your workplace. 


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Tale of the Tape: A Tape For Every Need

Floor Tape, Reflective Tape

There’s a diverse range of floor tapes available in the market today. While the vast number of choices means that there is a tape for every task, it also means that users are stuck with the burden of having to make an informed decision on what to use in their facilities.

In a previous article, we discussed the different colours and designs of floor tape and how each one is commonly used as well as tips on picking colours for your facility. While that will help narrow down what kind of tape you should use, we’d like to discuss another element which should influence your selection of tape: the materials floor tapes can be made of.

It is of utmost importance that you choose the right tape for the appropriate surface and lighting. This ensures that the tape will last longer and be visible under all conditions. After all, no one wants to replace tape frequently or have the tape be useful only at certain times of the day.

Surfaces matters

An important element to consider is the surface you will be applying your tape to. There are specific kinds of tape for concrete, wood, and more.  Take into consideration whether the floor you will be applying the tape to is constantly dry or gets wet every so often since this can affect the lifespan (and replacement schedule) of the tape.

In addition, marking tapes will also have different surfaces. Some have anti-slip properties (a must when the floor constantly gets wet or slippery) while others remain glossy and vibrant even when stepped on multiple times.

Anit-Slip Reflective TapeLighting

The lighting in the area is also a major consideration in picking tape. Low-light conditions such as during dusk or even complete darkness is obviously a problem with ordinary tapes. If it is impossible (or too expensive) to fix the lighting conditions to accommodate the use of tape, then perhaps reflective or luminescent tape is for you.

Reflective tape, as the name suggests is made from materials that reflects light. This means that these kinds of tape still need light to work, but less than what the average tape would need. This allows marking tape to be easily spotted using flashlights or even headlamps. Choose this tape when you are assured that there will always be a light source nearby.

Luminescent tape on the other hand works by absorbing photons and releasing it later. This means that the tape needs to “charge” for some time before it gives off light on its own. The advantage of these kinds of tape is that they are visible even when there is no light in the area.

Use this kind of tape when you can ensure that it will be getting some exposure to light at certain times of the day to allow it to gather photons for release later.


Maintaining tape is easy. More often than not, all it needs is a quick wash and wipe with water (commercial cleaners may have some chemicals that could destroy the tape) and you’re done. However, there are certain warning signs that indicate when you need to replace the tape, so make sure to give your tape a thorough inspection when doing your cleaning.

If your tape has any of these problems, then consider replacing the section of tape or even the entire area (to keep it uniform):

  • Fraying on the sides
  • Discolouration
  • Rips or gouges
  • Less reflectivity (for reflective tapes) or lower light production (luminescent tape)
  • Stains

All of these issues can severely hamper the efficiency of the tape or, as in the case of fraying, be the cause of the accident itself.

Tape, Maintain, Sustain

Like all safety items, proper use and care goes a long way in prolonging the efficiency and life of these items. So go ahead and integrate the use of floor tape in your safety program, it can only make your facility safer. However, be aware that it’s not a magic solution that allows you to just place the item and forget about it.

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Confined Space: What Safety Equipment Do You Need?

Confined spacesWorking in confined spaces can be challenging. Many work injuries and deaths that happen each year are related to confined space work, making it one of the most hazardous kind of job in any work setting. In fact, sixty percent of confined space fatalities are the would-be rescuers. Which is why Canadian employers are required to create a Confined Space Hazard Assessment and Control Program in their organization.

But how do you determine what a confined space is?

For a space to be considered as “confined” , it must meet three criteria:

  1. It has limited means of egress with only one way of entering/exiting,
  2. Not designed for continuous occupancy, meaning there are no provisions for lighting, HVAC and such; and
  3. The space is large enough for a body to fit in and perform work.

Some examples of confined spaces include manholes, silos, tunnels, ventilation and exhaust ducts, storage tanks and pipelines, among others.

Confined spaces present many dangers including lack of oxygen, poisonous gas and liquid build up, fire and explosions, high dust concentration, and excessive heat, among others. Then there are the potential dangers that may arise from when the actual work is being carried out. Machinery that is being used may need special precautions, such as provisions against electric shock. Also, if men are trapped inside a space with restricted entrance, escape or rescue will be more difficult.

If your job requires you to work in confined spaces, you need to use the proper tools and equipment to safeguard yourself and others against  these hazards. Working safely in confined space requires special training in knowing more about the common risks and how to manage them, including which safety tools and equipment to use. These include:

Safety signs

All spaces must be identified, documented and marked so workers will understand what level of protection is necessary. Confined space signs clearly and effectively warn workers and guests of dangers in these areas, ensuring their well-being and safety. Post danger and caution signs at strategic places to indicate hazardous and restricted areas.

Danger Confined Space LabelSafety labels

Labels provide secure identification to authorized confined space workers and visitors, so you can control access to your hazard areas. This also helps discourage potential trespassers and unauthorized personnel from restricted areas. Display these confined space labels on machinery, equipment, or in any potentially dangerous area to warn workers, maintenance crews or repairmen of confined spaces and the dangers.


A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is essential if the air inside the confined space is not fit to be inhaled because of the presence of fume, gas, or vapour, or lack or oxygen. Respirators minimize work related injuries and save time and money. There are different kinds of respirators available, so make sure you are using the right one.

Rescue harness

When going down a manhole or to a lower level of confined space, you need to use fall protection equipment like harnesses, lanyards, carabiners, and lifelines to allow for the safe and effective lowering and lifting of workers. Fall harnesses are also used by rescuers to remove trapped workers in a confined space safely and quickly out of danger.

Comfo-Cap Mining Hard Hat with Staz-On SuspensionHead Protection

Hard hats and face shields protect your workers from potential head and face injuries such as falling or piercing objects and electrical shock that may happen while working in a confined space. All personnel must wear head protection before entering a confined space.

Eye, ear, hand, and foot protection

Goggles and safety glasses protect your eye from heat, chemicals and injury from foreign objects that may be present in confined spaces. Operating machinery inside confined spaces can create excessive loud noises. You need to wear proper hearing protection to protect your ears from damage. You also need to protect your hands and feet from possible injury while working in a confined spaces.

Special tools and lighting

Powerful lighting such as safety lamps is a must for dark confined areas to be able to perform your tasks well. Ventilators and blowers are needed to provide air circulation. You must also makes sure that your tools are non-sparking to avoid fire and explosion from flammable or potentially explosive atmospheres.

Lockout equipment

Confined spaces that are deemed too dangerous to use must be sealed and locked to prevent further access. Devices such as switch locks also prevent people from activating electrical or mechanical equipment while someone is inside a space working on the said equipment.

It is possible to work safely in a confined space, but it needs careful planning and preparation to achieve this. A strong and compliant confined space program will guide you in doing this. You need to follow all safety precautions and never take shortcuts when it comes to confined space safety. Don’t hesitate to speak up or ask questions when you are unsure of the correct procedures. You are the key to making your confined space safety program a success. By consistently following safe work ethics and procedures, you can continue to work safely for a long time.


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No Skidding: Keep Safe With Winter Cleaning Tools


Winter in Canada is synonymous with extreme cold weather and snow – lots of it. For residential and business owners, it’s important to ensure that all areas are covered when it comes to winter safety and cleanliness. Twenty-five percent of  all serious injuries related to slips and trips happen in winter, but these accidents are preventable by making sure your walkways and pathways are clear of any snow or slush. This guideline on clearing pathways and these safety tips to prevent slips and falls can get you started on winter safety and preparedness program in your facility and at home.

There are many ways of dealing with snow cleanup during this season, and there are corresponding tools available to aid you in your snow removal tasks. Read on to know more about these handy and helpful snow cleaning tools for your winter cleanup activities:


Shovels are your most basic snow removal tool and the most economical too. Before using one, you need to apply wax on the shovel to reduce friction as you scrape through the slush and snow. This keeps the ice from sticking to the shovel and makes it less heavy when working. Waxing also keeps the shovel from rusting, prolonging its life.

De-Icers and Ice Melters

De-icing is a preventative method wherein de-icers are applied on driving or walking surfaces before a snowfall to prevent hard ice from forming. Snow and ice can become compact and bond to a paved surface. A de-icer can be absorbed into the compact snow or ice, melt it, and break it up for easier shoveling.

Ice melters are used to dissolve existing ice and snow. Most of these are a blend of calcium, sodium, or magnesium chloride. Ice melters work by attracting moisture to itself to form a liquid brine. This solution generates heat which melts the ice.


Spreaders are one of the most effective tools in melting snow. These are used to evenly distribute ice melt, rock salt, or grit for slippery icy spots and prevent waste. This snow removal tool can be handheld, feature wheels,  or can be attached to the back of a truck, so you can remove ice and snow faster in any scenario.

Snow Blowers

This powerful snow removal machine does a better and faster job of clearing snow and covers a larger area in little time. Before getting a snow blower. you need to make sure that there is:

  • an impeller to suck up snow and blow it out the chute. Cheaper ones don’t have these, so they don’t discharge snow and ice properly.
  • an electric starter, to lessen aggravation
  • a powerful engine
  • self-propulsion. Pushing a snow-blower through the ice is inefficient – it takes more time and uses up more energy.

When used correctly, a snow blower puts lesser stress on your lower back compared to shoveling.


Ice Scrapers

This is a old-fashioned but handy way to clear snow and ice from your sidewalks and walkways. It works by chipping at the ice until they break apart. Another type is used to remove snow and ice off your vehicle. This type lets you easily push heavy, wet snow off the roof, hood, windshield and trunk of your car making cleaning easy work for this season.

Snow Cutters

Snow on your roof puts added weight which can lead to roof damages. This tool removes snow or ice from your roof in sections. This is safer and faster to use compared to shoveling, and you don’t have to climb onto your roof to shovel off snow.

Snow removal is no fun when you need to work in freezing temperature. But proper technique and good quality equipment help make this chore more bearable and less intimidating. Do it yourself and save up on cleaning fees that may add up with the long winter season and endless snowfall. Use these tools to help protect structures from damage, provides more mobility, and make traveling safer and easier. And finally, say goodbye to nasty slips and trips this winter!


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PPE: Your Top 8 Work Wear Must-Haves For Winter


Winter is already here, and so are darker days and cold, wet weather. This is the time when Canadians are more susceptible to workplace hazards and sickness brought about by some of the toughest weather conditions this country has to offer.

Cold weather can affect mental alertness and manual dexterity, and can lead to accidents such as slips, trips, and falls. Exposure to cold weather can also bring about deadly health risks such as hypothermia and frostbite. All of these things can affect worker productivity and ultimately, the bottom line of your company.

For workers who spend much of their time outdoors, preparation is a must. This means that members of the workforce such as construction workers, road crews, utility workers, fire fighters, and commercial fishermen, to name a few, must use specialized weather-appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and clothing to be able to combat the harsh, cold temperature and still perform their work task safely and properly.

Employers must provide the right PPE that are suitable for the temperature, the task that will be done, and the physical exertion needed to accomplish the task. The PPE should also comply with government standards and regulations. If your workers are exposed to harsh winter conditions, the following PPE items are a must so your employees will be safer, healthier and more productive in winter work environments:

Anti-exposure Work Suits

In extreme cold and wet environments, your employees need an anti-exposure work suit that can protect them from hypothermia. These are waterproof and designed to keep you warm on the boat and in the water. The one-piece overall provides comfort and allows for a full range of motion so you can perform your tasks well.


Rain can aggravate winter cold problems. Employees who work in the rain should wear rain gear that fully covers their body. Rainwear come in three types: water-resistant, waterproof/breathable, and waterproof. Which type to choose depends on how much time you will be spending in the rain and the intensity of your tasks.

Safety Goggles

The eyes are often forgotten when it comes to winter protection. But cold air and wind can quickly dry eyes and  mucous membranes. Goggle help prevent eyes from heat and moisture loss. They also protect your eyes from wind and flying particles, and provide additional face coverage as well.

Winter Gloves

Your hands are your most important tools to perform any task, so it only follows that you should make sure they are protected from the harsh weather. A good pair of warm, insulated work gloves is a necessity when working outdoors in cold climates. You can choose from mittens, ski gloves, neoprene glove and other options to address your cold weather exposure needs.


Like your hands, you also need to keep your feet warm. Extremities, such as the hands and feet, are most prone to conditions such as frostbite and chilblains. Felt-lined, rubber bottomed, leather-topped boots with removable insoles are best for heavy work in cold weather, but waterproof boots are more suited to tasks that involves walking and standing in water.

trex-6310-ice-traction-device-9464b-lgIce Traction Devices

Traction devices are placed over existing footwear to give extra traction for walking on wet, icy surface, and prevents slip and trip incidents. These are ideal for road construction workers, roofers, installers, deliver person, utility men, among others.

Winter Liners

Use cold weather winter liners to keep the head, neck, and ears warm when wearing a hard hat or other safety head gear. For more severe exposure to cold weather, there are full head covers with openings for the eyes, nostrils, and mouth, and come in flannel, knit, and even neoprene materials.

Work Tents

Wind chill can be dangerous in windy environments. A work tent acts as a temporary shelter for your workers who need to work outdoors, and reduces the length of exposure of workers to deadly wind chill factor.

Working outdoors in the cold is no laughing matter. It can be dangerous to the untrained and to people without adequate winter clothing. But for a well-informed and prepared worker, it can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Wearing winter-appropriate PPE helps make that happen, as well as following these winter safety guidelines to avoid accidents and mishaps in the workplace.



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Hand Carts: Your Ticket to Safer Material Handling

600x250Back injury is a common problem in the workplace. In British Columbia alone, almost one out of five Canadians suffer from some form of work-related back problem. These back injuries mostly result from lifting heavy or irregular-sized objects.

Workers loading and unloading cargo are exposed to serious threats of heavy objects, which could potentially fall on or hit them. If this happens, the cargo itself or the immediate surroundings could also be damaged.

Manual Material Handling (MMH) equipment such as hand trucks, carts and dollies can help prevent these mishaps. Even the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends these to prevent back injury. With these tools, workers can transport light or heavy loads faster, without the threat of back injuries and other accidents. While there is no hard and fast rule on when to use a utility cart or hand truck, common sense will dictate that a load too heavy or cumbersome to lift manually needs some form of MMH.

As with any equipment, you need to know how to use and maintain them properly to get the most out of them. There are safety guidelines on how to use your hand trucks and carts, especially in a factory or warehouse setting.

Here are some safety tips to help you in your material handling tasks:

  • Check if your MMH equipment is in good condition. Before using your dolly or cart for transporting, you need to ensure it is in good condition. Check if the cart handles are stable and if the wheels have proper air pressure. Flat tires do not roll so well, so make sure yours aren’t deflated. Otherwise, you won’t be able to move your cargo.
  • Make sure your cargo fits and is secure. Know the load capacity of your cart or truck. Trying to load your cart with small individual items or large unstable pieces isn’t just a daunting task; it can also cause the load to fall off and hurt you or make a mess. Put your small items in a container and secure your large items by bundling them up before transport. Use heavy-duty nylon belts and other cargo restraints to secure your load.
  • Load the heaviest item first.  Unless you want your smaller items to get crushed, the heaviest cargo should go to the bottom. A top-heavy cargo will tip over and hurt you or someone else. Make sure the load is evenly distributed on all wheels of your cart or dolly. Always follow the load capacity of your MMH and never overload.
  • Decide on which direction you are going before moving your cargo. Never pull a cart, dolly, or hand truck. Always push it when moving loads. Moving forward with your cart in front of you is more stable, but your vision is compromised by the cart. Going backward means you will be in front of the truck, but it’ll be more difficult for you to control the cart, and there is a greater chance for your truck to tip over or hit something. If your view is obstructed, ask a spotter to assist in guiding the load.
  •  Move at an appropriate pace. Speeding, rushing, or pushing too hard can cause your cargo to shift and become unstable, causing damage to the product or hurting you or someone else in the process.
  •  Know when it is time to use mechanical equipment instead. Never use your back when raising or lowering a load. Use mechanical or hydraulic lifting mechanisms when you need to move extremely heavy loads.

Learning how to safely move cargo and practicing the correct methods of transporting will help prevent back and muscle injuries. You also need to prepare yourself and your surroundings before performing any lifting or moving tasks by following these simple tips on MMH general practices. Being knowledgeable on the different material handling equipment will also help you determine which tool is best for the task at hand. Doing these things will ensure you and your workers can do your jobs safely and properly.


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