Friday, March 15, 2019

Safety Tips for Filling, Moving, and Placement of Sandbags

Record snowfall, warmer temperatures, and rain has led to an increased risk of flooding across Minnesota communities. As cities prepare, remember that sandbagging is extremely hard work and requires heavy lifting.

First and foremost, when sandbagging, your safety is the most important. Any medical conditions that could have adverse effects on your health, do not be involved in the filling or handling of sandbags. If you are not feeling well, seek medical attention immediately.

It is also important to wear proper clothing and personal protective equipment. Depending on the conditions and your task, you may need to wear safety glasses, closed toe and heel shoes, work gloves, proper head gear, and reflective gear if working at night.

When beginning work, always stretch before lifting and use proper lifting techniques, remembering to keep the lift between knee and waist height. Do not reach out, bend over, of twist when lifting. Do not lift with your back, use your legs. Be aware of your physical conditions and what your limits are.

Filling the sandbags is a two-person task. There should be one person holding the sandbag and another person shoveling and releasing the sand into the bag. Sandbags should only be filled one-half to two-thirds full. Make sure when you are holding the bag to stand feet shoulder width apart and one foot forward in a power stance, with knees slightly bent.

If you are shoveling, it's important to keep your feet wide apart with your front foot close to the shovel. Again, bend your knees and not your back, and keep the shovel close to body. Do not twist your body, instead turn your feet when putting sand into the bag.

Once you start moving and placing of sandbags, carry it in front of you at waist height and close to your body. If passing bags, do not throw them.

Be aware of your surroundings. There will be multiple different tasks going on. Watch for heavy equipment. Check the ground conditions. Watch for other people working. 

While you're filling and placing sandbags, be sure to avoid touching your eyes and mouth because there may be bacteria in the sand, flood water, and other materials and equipment you come in contact with. Always wash your hands before eating and drinking.

Take frequent breaks and rotate positions. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Here are some helpful resources:

Submitted by: LMCIT Loss Control

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