Safety Tips

Lifting & Loading

You and Co-Workers

You and other workers are responsible for good housekeeping on the work site. Proper materials handling and good storage are all part of good housekeeping.

Be sure that you and your co-workers keep up safety efforts in all these worksite duties. It will make loading and lifting procedures that much easier to complete safely.

Make Time for Safety

When a large construction project starts up, there can be a tremendous number of deliveries.

You and your co-workers need to know proper procedures for loading and unloading, as well as basic materials handling practices.

Take time to learn more about safety precautions in these areas.


Accidents can and do happen in loading and lifting operations. Study these examples and watch for them at your worksite so they can be avoided:

The collapse of a pile of heavy material because it was loaded or stored improperly
An explosion or fire caused by hazardous materials not being handled correctly
Toxic materials affecting workers because of lack of knowledge of substances
Ripped bags spilling material because of rough handling

All these hazards are controllable with proper procedures and handling.


One frequent danger is that of a truck rolling backwards. Make sure that truck brakes are set and the wheels are chocked (blocked) when loading or unloading. Semi-trailers should have fixed jacks installed to prevent upending.

Preplanning Pays Off

Before manual lifting is done by a worker, an employer must perform a hazard assessment that considers the weight, size, shape of the load and the number of time a and the manner in which the load will be moved.

A lot of unloading problems can be eliminated by having a plan. For example, your purchase orders for each shipment should tell the shipper what the packing order is, so that the things to be unloaded last at your end will be loaded on the truck first. It will make your job easier during unloading.

Other questions to consider when making your plans:

What is the best way to unload the truck?
Are enough workers available to assist in handling the load?
Is the load in a condition which makes it a safety hazard?

Truck Mounted Cranes

You must use extreme caution when working near or operating truck mounted cranes. You must watch overhead for power lines and other obstructions at all times.

The vehicle must be well blocked and on a level, stable surface that can support the weight of both truck and load.

Take care to plan each lift. Though each lift may be loading an identical size of material, the crane may be placing the item in a different spot each time - if one lift requires extending the crane to maximum reach, make sure safe operating charts are consulted.

When cranes are used to lift pallets make sure that the materials are well stacked, tied and secure. Ensure that workers are not below the lift area and cannot be struck by falling objects.

Clear the Area

Whether it is a truck mounted crane or a forklift in use, the area must be clear of obstructions and unnecessary workers.


Forklifts are commonly used for loading and lifting. As an operator, make sure you:

Lower the forks to the ground when not in use
Do not exceed the maximum load shown on the forklift data plate
If seat belts are available, be sure to use them
Position the load according to the recommended load center
Insert the forks all the way under the load
Never move an unstable load - get help and repack the load if necessary
Never raise or lower the forks until the forklift is stopped and braked
Drive slowly, avoid sudden stops, and turn with care
Don't lift a load that extends above the load backrest - you're a sitting duck if the load slides back
Communicate with your co-workers about the job you're doing
Take extra precautions when unloading elevators, railway cars, tractor trailers, and straight trucks
Be aware of overhead heights, entrances and clearances needed, and factors special to each type of job - follow the safety guidelines for each

Chances Are

At home, the chances are quite good that you will be involved in regular lifting and loading activities.

Teach your family the best way to handle each load. Complete each job using efficient methods while taking your time. If the job is too big for you alone, plan ahead and get some help from family or friends.

When you're in motion on the job, take care to avoid hazards and you don't test yourself beyond your strength limits.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.