Stone Loading and Unloading Safety Recommendations
In addition to other aspects of working with stone slabs, loading and unloading of materials requires safety. Failing to load or unload stone slabs safely may result in one or more of several kinds of injuries and even fatalities. In this article, we are going to take a look at stone loading and unloading safety recommendations. Along the way, we will mention some of the hazards associated with loading and unloading slabs of stone.
Loading and Unloading Stone Safely
There are many reasons for being safety conscious when working stone. One of the tasks that requires stone safety is the unloading and loading of stone slabs into trucks for transportation. We covered general aspects of safely handling stone in an article entitled: Handling Hazardous Stone Slabs Safely. In that article we touched on various ways that stone handling safety becomes important. Here though, we will expand on safely loading and unloading stone slabs.
Stone Safety for Loading & Unloading
No matter how you slice it, stone slabs have to get to their destination through transport. Therefore, securing the loaded slabs is obviously required. After all, you don't want the slabs to slide or shift during the drive. That could result in damage costing thousands of dollars.
Getting a load for transport secured is frequently done by building a support system that encases the stone slabs. These bundles of material then, are thoroughly packed with a sturdy structure around them when they are loaded. This structure is where some potential hazards crop up.
Hazards of Unloading Stone Slabs
Once a shipment of stone arrives, it must be unloaded. Unfortunately, an ill-informed or uninformed worker can be crushed if the proper unloading procedures are not in place and followed. When unloading stone slabs or slab bundles it is vital that the support structure is removed at the proper time and in the correct manner.
Loading Stone Slabs Onto A Flatbed
When loading slabs, safety is just as important as it is when they being unloaded. The stone doesn't get lighter just because it is going onto a truck as opposed to coming off it. The truck should be properly equipped with racking that is stable and secure. Being able to secure the load is key. And when the load is being place onto the flatbed, be sure that no worker is in the fall shadow where they could be crushed by a falling stone slab.
Spotting Stone Slabs While Loading or Unloading
There are several pieces of equipment used in conjunction with one another to unload and to load trucks. Be sure that each piece of equipment whether it is a forklift boom, a lifting clamp, even a swivel hook is in good working order and is of the proper quality. Using gear that is appropriate for the task being performed is of the utmost importance.
While the crane operator is moving the slab, as mentioned above, the spotter should never wander into the fall shadow of load being moved. Choosing a safe location from which to spot the load and staying in that relative location is a key to stone loading and unloading safety practices.
Loading and Unloading Safety Recommendations
Having requirements and guidelines for the safe loading and unloading of stone slabs will go a long way towards the safety of the workers doing the loading or unloading of the stone. Here are some guidelines that are applicable to unloading and loading stone slabs for transport.
- Before starting any work related to loading or unloading a stone slab shipment, plan the work so as to identify hazards, safe work practices, and the equipment that is needed to do the task safely.
- Whether loading or unloading slabs from a container or storage area, have established procedures for the handling and transport of stone slabs.
- Be sure to use machines, equipment, and hardware appropriate for the task.
- Before using any mechanical equipment for loading or unloading slabs, inspect such equipment to spot damage or defects that could impact safety.
- Repair any defect or damage before starting (or continuing with the loading or unloading) of stone slabs.
- Instruct workers and maintain training on how to properly handle shipping and receiving slab loads.
- Follow through by ensuring that the procedures for loading and unloading slab transports are implemented at all times.
Stone loading and unloading safety recommendations are just that; recommendations. However, there are rules and regulations* that are somewhat related to this aspect of stone slab handling.
*The following documents contain information related to safety and the stone industry.
- 29 CFR 1910.176, Handling materials-general, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- 29 CFR 1910.178, Powered Industrial Trucks, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- 29 CFR 1910.179, Overhead and Gantry Cranes, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.