Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Safety: Are you following these best practices?

Posted by: VersaCold on Feb 22, 2017 2:02:19 PM


In the supply chain and logistics world, the responsible use of Material Handling Equipment (MHE) is integral to the safety of any successful supply chain operation. The term MHE encompasses a wide variety of equipment involved in the transporting, controlling, storing, protecting and enumerating of products at any step in the supply chain. Given the important role of this equipment to daily operations, it is essential to properly train MHE operators on how to safely connect and disconnect a battery during a battery change. Proper training is key to ensuring that employees don’t use unsafe  methods for disconnecting an MHE battery, such as repetitively pulling on the cables to dislodge the connector. Failure to do so can lead to electrocution of a team member or even a fire due to the interaction of hydrogen gas and sparks from exposed wires.

Quick Tips

Tip #1:

Disconnect the battery by holding the connecting handle to dislodge the connector. Do not pull the battery cable.

Tip #2:

When changing a battery, ensure the battery cable is properly tucked in to avoid damage.

To protect against these potential hazards and work towards the goal of zero accidents in the workplace, VersaCold requires the following best practices when connecting and disconnecting an MHE battery during a battery change.  

Process for disconnecting a battery during a battery change

When disconnecting an MHE battery during a battery change, an employee should always keep these best practices in mind:

  • Turn the key to the off position and power down the MHE entirely.
  • Make sure that you and everyone involved in the changing of the battery are wearing the required personal protective equipment.
  • Disconnect the battery by holding the connector handle to dislodge the connector, not by pulling on the battery cable directly.
  • Inspect the device for a defective cable connector, loose hold-down clamps or loose terminal posts.
  • Before changing the battery, ensure the battery cable is properly tucked in to avoid damage.
  • If you or a co-worker discover any defective or substandard equipment, stop using it immediately and report it to a manager or supervisor.
  • Ensure that battery handling systems are well maintained to avoid equipment failure. Failure to do so can lead to injury and costly damage to property.


Responsibilities of supervisors and managers

Supervisors and managers in facilities with MHEs should also take personal responsibility to ensure the equipment is in good working condition by:

  • Monitoring equipment in their daily inspections
  • Communicating the importance of reporting substandard conditions immediately
  • Ensuring that Workplace Monthly Inspections by a designated safety committee include all equipment
  • Immediately locking out unsafe/defective equipment
  • Providing opportunities for preventative maintenance that is frequent enough to prevent failures

The concern over preventing an MHE electrical hazard requires serious attention and should be a number one priority amongst leadership in the workplace. By taking preventative action, supervisors and managers can help create a culture where safety is the highest priority.

By improving every day, we can all work towards a zero accident workplace. Contact one of our Sales Specialists today and let us show you why we are the right choice for your business. or 1-800-563-COLD


At VersaCold, safety is our top priority. In our place of work, on the road and in our homes, "safety first" is embedded into our performance-driven culture and reflected in everything we do. We are committed to maintaining a hazard- and injury-free workplace to keep both our employees and visitors safe. As part of our commitment to safety, we will be sharing some of our safety tips with you to pass on tried and tested ways to help make your workplace and home life safer.

Tags: Safety Tips