Materials Handling Contractor Planning Tool

Contractor Planning Tool

Look Back (Lessons Learned)

WHO TO INVOLVE: May involve the project superintendent/project manager, foreman, and workers.

ACTION NEEDED: When the project ends, take time to reflect on the success of your plan – what worked and what could be better?

  • Meet with your employees to get their input on what helped or did not help to minimize manual materials handling and what equipment, work practices, or actions they would recommend for future projects.
  • Document what you learned and the solutions so they can be used to minimize manual materials handling and prevent injuries on future projects.


PURPOSE & GOAL: Identify lessons learned on this project to improve materials handling and reduce injuries on future projects. The more you learn from each project, the better positioned you will be to successfully bid and win future projects. Consider this last step the first step in planning for and winning your next project.


  1. How closely did you execute the plan?
    • Were materials delivered and stored as planned?
    • Was the lifting/moving equipment and/or additional labor needed to safely lift and move the materials available and used as expected?
    • Did employees take time to plan individual lifts? Were pathways cleared before moving materials?
    • If training was included in your plan, was it carried out when, where, and how it was planned?
  2. Identify what changed from the original plans and what adjustments were made on the job site.
    • What did not go as planned (e.g., lifting equipment was changed or not available; materials delivered to a different location, different training materials used)
    • Did the changes have a positive or negative outcome?
    • Was your plan effective? Did it reduce injury risks, strains and sprains, lost workdays?
  1. If the data is available, how do injury rates on this project compare with past experience?
  2. Were there lessons learned from injuries involving manual material handling on this project?
  3. What would you do differently on your next project to reduce the risks for sprain and strain injuries and improve material handling?
  4. Do your employees have suggestions for safer ways to deliver, store, lift and move materials to prevent overexertion injuries on future projects?

Look Back Guide

Use your planning documents (bid documents, checklists, etc.) to compare how you expected materials to be handled with what happened on the job site.  

REMINDER: If you used the Materials Handling Workbook and worksheets and/or the on-the-job daily checklist, you will have the documentation you need to conduct this review.