Count the Cost of Materials Mishandling

Apr 25, 2018

It Pays to Make the Most of Space, Staging, Storage and Equipment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that materials handling accounts for over half a million cases of musculoskeletal disorders reported annually in the United States. And a recent five-year materials handling study, related to worker’s compensation and disability benefits, found that repetitive motion injuries accounted for 21% of state-funded claims. According to the CDC, workers’ compensation costs for an average lost time injury for a shoulder are $20,000 and for a back $25,000.

  • 2/3 of manual material handling claims involved injuries to the shoulders, back and neck
  • 25% of the most commonly reported injuries involved handling a container

The most commonly reported work-related musculoskeletal disorder injuries, due to repetitive motion

  • 55 % involved lifting
  • 17 % involved carrying, turning, holding and wielding
  • 14 % involved pushing and pulling


  • Poorly placed materials decrease productivity and increases the risk of injury and decrease productivity.
  • When materials are stored too low, or in confined areas, it makes handling supplies more difficult.
  • Heavy materials and repetitive motion are the most common cause of materials handling injuries.


  • Placing materials near the work area decreases material handling and injury risk and increases productivity. Stage supplies close to where they will be used and leave safe clearance between materials. Stacking safely and staging at waist height is ergonomically ideal.
  • Plan, in advance of delivery, where materials and supplies will be stored.
  • Prep employees in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lifting and materials handling basics. Use tools and equipment to transport heavy materials whenever possible.

Comprehensive CDC Materials Handling checklist

OSHA Worker Safety Series Warehousing Pocket Guide includes Materials Handling

Injuries and accidents will cost you. But careful preparation of employees and resourcefully planning materials handling and the use of practical tools can help you optimize and streamline your workflow, increase productivity and care for your employees’ health and welfare. Quite simply, it’s smart business. Ask Ohio Tool Systems about an ergonomic audit of your warehouse or distribution center. We offer streamlined working solutions – including equipment to lift and transport your products safely and efficiently. For loads from 20lbs. to 140,000lbs. Our focus is to improve your workplace to make the best use of your most valuable asset – your employees.