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Material Handling - General: What you need to know

Many organizations have to handle and move heavy or bulky materials. Depending on their size and weight, the means available to handle them varies. Handling such materials involves risk of injury to workers. For that reason, OSHA regulates the way materials are handled in the workplace.

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General industry requirements. The material handling and storage requirements for general industry workplaces (29 CFR 1910 Subpart N) regulate machines and equipment used to handle and move materials. The rule includes general housekeeping requirements and safe practices for the use of mechanical equipment to move material.

Mechanical equipment for material handling includes:

  • Powered industrial trucks (e.g., forklifts)
  • Cranes
  • Derricks
  • Slings
  • Helicopters
  • Servicing of rim wheels

See the Cranes and Slings regulatory analysis for information on cranes, derricks, slings, and helicopters.

Powered industrial trucks. Because most industries that move heavy and bulky material use some type of powered industrial truck or forklift, the forklift rule has its own regulatory analysis section. See the Forklifts regulatory analysis for more information.

Construction industry requirements. OSHA's material-handling rules for construction workplaces regulate:

  • Cranes
  • Derricks
  • Hoists
  • Elevators
  • Helicopters
  • Conveyors
  • Mechanized earthmoving equipment (e.g., scrapers, loaders, tractors, bulldozers, off-highway trucks, graders)

Few employers will have compliance responsibilities under all these rules, but in a large number of industrial or construction workplaces, at least one or two of the rules will apply.

See the Cranes and Derricks (Construction) regulatory analysis for all the construction industry topics except earthmoving equipment.

See the Mechanized Equipment ...


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