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Material handling on stairs and tight spaces safety talk

Material handling on stairs and in tight spaces toolbox topic

Many serious injuries occur from material handling because of heavy equipment and material that must be installed upstairs or in tight spaces. This can pose apparent risks, and special care must be taken to avoid strains, sprains and worse.

Safe moving tips in these areas:

– When moving items that are tall have someone supporting the object up high and down low; this will help to match the slope of stairs and also center the weight
– Ensure there are accurate measurements of the area the item has to move through; this includes width, depth, and    height including extra space for fingers
– When an object can be dismantled to reduce the weight or size take the time to do so
– Never move heavy pieces alone; always bring a second person to assist
– Remove molding around doors if it will ease in the process
– Wear gloves, sleeves, long pants, and boots to protect from the from the furniture slipping and falling
– Always point the top of the equipment on the dolly up the stairs and back the item up each step


Tools to aid in moving heavy items:

– Avoid using a standard dolly for bulky commercial items; use an appliance dolly
– Appliance dollies have wider frame, wheels, and can maneuver more easily up and down stairs; use straps to secure the equipment
– Shoulder dollies are available for use with two people; they work by taking the weight off of the back; they rest on shoulders and rely on leveraging other muscle groups
– Shoulder dollies are suitable for tight spaces because they leave hands free to adjust the furniture; they are not, however, good for stairs because the weight does not disperse evenly
– Lifting straps are another option that uses leverage and rests on forearms; this can be used for odd shaped items and also for people of different heights
– A moving blanket can also be used to maneuver through tight spaces by sliding the equipment instead of carrying it
– Ramps are useful for maneuvering items into odd or tight spaces as well



This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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