Material Handling in Construction
Material handling is a term that refers to the control and storage of products and materials, which ultimately, all forms part of the logistics management process of a project.
Different types of plants, that are used for the handling of material on site, most commonly includes cranes, forklift trucks, lifting devices, telescopic handlers, hydraulic excavators and various other conveyor systems.
Although some might think about material handling as the different materials that get handled on site, it is thus many different materials, accompanied by machinery, devices, structures, along with other variables.
Material handling involves the inspection and receipt of materials, the assembly and use thereof, as well as the storage. Considering how important sticking with a budget and the time it takes to finish a project in construction, material handling and the planning thereof should be well-coordinated and remain organized, for all on site to be aware of how it works, and the purpose of it.
The number one most important reason why caution is taken as seriously with material handling is that safety always comes first in the construction industry. When a site is unsafe or presents hazards to those who work on site, it’s not only the well-being of those individuals that get put at risk but also the reputation of the company and the budget of the project altogether.
How to practice guidelines for material handling systems
- All methods and processes must be standardized
- Working conditions must consider work safety as the main objective
- Storage areas must be kept clean and organized, to maximize safety and eliminate the chance of materials being damaged
- Safety equipment, including PPE, must be available.
- Deliveries must be received and handled quickly.
- Automated material handling software and technologies must be used where necessary and practical.
- Unit loads must be optimized to reduce risk and work.
When it comes to incorrect material and manual handling, something like the weight of an item or structure, the repetitive nature of movement thereof, as well as the distance the item needs to get moved, must be considered. The posture of employees must also be taken note of, as stretching, twisting or placing the body in an awkward position, might put the employee at a bigger risk for obtaining an injury.