Order picking and material handling is an important task in most manufacturing industries and, unfortunately, on-the-job injuries are not uncommon. Back injuries incurred while lifting are among the most common hazards for order pickers. But order pickers also face risks of other types of injuries, including trips and falls, shoulder, elbow or arm strains, injuries from falling objects, and injuries involving forklifts and other material-handling equipment.
Order pickers and other material handlers should observe the following precautions to avoid the most common types of on-the-job injuries:
- Use material-handling aids, such as hand trucks and four-wheeled carts whenever possible to minimize heavy lifting and carrying.
- Keep materials and supplies stored at a level between the knees and shoulders. It is much more physically strenuous to lift things from below knee level or from above shoulder height.
- Slide, push, or pull materials and supplies whenever possible to avoid heavy lifting and carrying.
- Avoid twisting the body while carrying a heavy object. Ask a co-worker for help when carrying a heavy object.
- Use both hands when carrying loads and keep the load close to the body.
- Rotate heaving lifting duties with lighter work to reduce wear and tear on the body.