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Material Handling - General (including Loading and Unloading)
National Summary

This topic covers OSHA’s general industry regulations for the handling of heavy or bulky materials, including loading and unloading. This includes both the use of mechanized equipment and non-powered material handling aids, such as hand trucks. Information about warehousing practices, including OSHA requirements for safe housekeeping, can also be found here.

Because handling heavy and bulky materials can be risky and lead to injury if not done properly, OSHA regulates material handling practices in 29 CFR 1910, Subpart N. Some types of equipment, such as forklifts and cranes, are covered under separate regulations. Regardless of the type of equipment, most material handling rules include requirements for safe operating procedures, training, maintenance, and inspections.

For related resources and training materials, refer to the following topics:

Also see BLR’s Warehouse Safety resource center for a collection of training materials and other essential resources to keep your workers safe.


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Interpretations Availability of the Servicing Multi-piece and Single Piece Rim Wheels standard's required charts and rim manuals.[1910.177] 12/21/2004National
Directives 02/19/1979 - STD 1-11.6A - Disparity Between 29 CFR 1910.178(c)(2)(vii) and Table N-1, 29 CFR 1910.178(c)(2) 07/09/2003National
Directives 08/16/1982 - STD 3-10.6 - 29 CFR 1926.451(w) and 29 CFR 1926.451(a)(18) As Applied to Welding Required on Float or Ship Scaffolds 07/18/2003National
Directives 10/01/1990 - STD 2-1.9 - HAZARD ALERT-Use of 4 x 29 Wire Rope as Cargo Runner (Hoisting Wire) 07/22/2003National
Directives 10/30/1978 - STD 1-11.4 - 29 CFR 1910.178(g)(2); Battery Charging Stations for Fork Lifts and Other Industrial Trucks 07/07/2003National
Directives 10/30/1978 - STD 3-6.1 - 29 CFR 1926.250(b)(1), Material Storage - As Related to Interim Storage of Temporary Flooring Used in Steel Erection 07/07/2003National
Directives 10/30/1978 - STD 3-6.2 - 29 CFR 1926.250.(b)(1), Material Storage - As Related to Interim Storage of Concrete Forms and Shoring 07/08/2003National
Directives 12/02/1987 - STP 2-1.141 - Servicing of Single Piece Multi-Piece Rim Wheels at Marine Terminals 07/18/2003National
Violations 2009 Violation Summary for Material Handling - General Industry  National
Violations 2011 Violation Summary for §1926.602 Material Handling Equipment - Construction  National
Violations 2011 Violation Summary for Material Handling - General Industry  National
Violations 2011 Violation Summary for Materials Handling, Storage, Use, and Disposal—Construction  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.176 Handling materials--general  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.177 Servicing multi-piece and single piece rim wheels  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.181 Derricks  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.183 Helicopters  National
Questions & Answers Are there any regs on stacking heights or number of stacks for wooden pallets? 02/29/2008National
Questions & Answers Are there any regulations or guidelines regarding rack safety? Do you have to post weight limits on the racks, is there required training, etc.? 02/22/2008National
Questions & Answers Are there OSHA inspection requirements for scissor lifts, boom bucket style lifts, and forklift trucks other than daily pre-trip inspections for the forklifts? 04/23/2009National
Talks Beware of Big Bottles (Word)  National
Clip Art Cart (GIF)  National
Talks Check Floor Load Capacities (Word)  National
Talks Chock and Block (Word)  National
Talks Clamp-Type Lifting Devices (Word)  National
Interpretations Clarification of the Applicability of 29 CFR 1910.272(g) or (h) During Grain Storage Structure Entry Operations.[1910.272;1910.272(g);1910.272(h)] 05/16/2011National
Interpretations Comments on Variance Application Number 2293. 09/18/1995National
Clip Art Conveyor Packaging (GIF)  National
Questions & Answers Does a parked forklift or similar vehicle or rolling stairway constitute a blockage in the aisle 11/13/2013National
Talks Drum Safety (Word)  National
Talks Empty Skids and Pallets (Word)  National
Handouts Get Smart About Materials-Handling Safety (PDF)  National
Quizzes Good Safety Practices for Order Pickers (PDF)  National
Handouts Good Safety Practices for Order Pickers (PDF)  National
Quizzes Good Safety Practices for Order Pickers (PDF) -- Spanish  National
Handouts Good Safety Practices for Order Pickers (PDF) -- Spanish  National
Trainer's Outlines Good Safety Practices for Order Pickers (PDF) [7-Minute Safety Trainer] (short outline)  National
Guidance Documents Grain Handling  National
Handouts Hand Trucks and Dollies (PDF) -- Spanish  National
Quizzes Hand Trucks and Dollies (PDF) -- Spanish  National
Meetings Hand Trucks and Dollies (Word)  National
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