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Equipment

Order Pickers: Seven Tips for Safer Operation at Your Facility

Blog Posts - Aug 20

Order Pickers: Seven Tips for Safer Operation at Your Facility

JLG Industries, Inc.
World-leading access equipment manufacturer
____
McConnellsburg, PA

An order picker is a specialized piece of equipment that enables faster piece picking and palletless handling. Follow these seven tips to help operators stay safe while using this type of lift at your customer order warehouse, storage facility, manufacturing plant or retail stockroom.

Unlike forklifts, which raise and lower loads, order pickers raise operators to the height of storage racks where they can pick individual units, place them on the machine’s carry deck and transport them to a packing area or customer service counter. Because order pickers—also called stock pickers—elevate goods and people, this type of ride-on warehouse lift requires special safety considerations.

1. Complete required order picker training before operating the machine.

OSHA considers an order picker to be a Class II electric motor narrow aisle lift truck. So, to operate an order picker legally, warehouse staff must pass OSHA’s safety training requirements in accordance with their Powered Industrial Truck safety guidelines. If a workplace incident occurs involving an order picker and the operator hasn’t completed proper training, it can put your organization at risk for fines and citations. And more importantly, ensuring workers are adequately trained helps protect your entire staff from the risks associated with using a warehouse lift.


2. Identify hazards in your environment and create a plan for how you’ll avoid them.

The best way to prevent injuries and workplace safety incidents is to think about them proactively by performing a job hazard analysis. This safety procedure identifies and evaluates hazards in the work environment to help employers implement strategies that reduce risk. Warehouse personnel who use lifts like order pickers, walkie stackers and forklifts should understand how to mitigate the specific risks associated with them. Hazards may be present when a lift operator is:
  • Maneuvering through crowded or narrow aisles
  • Managing a load, including load capacity, unsecured loads and blind spots created by a load
  • Avoiding pedestrians and objects that may be in the machine’s path
  • Passing beneath overhead obstructions like low-hanging doors or ductwork
  • Navigating docks, ramps and slippery floor surfaces
  • Maintaining and inspecting lift equipment

3. Tie off in the platform while working at height.

Because order pickers elevate operators to height, it’s important for them to wear fall protection equipment. OSHA strongly encourages the use of a body harness for operators who will be working at height, and many stock pickers also have additional safety restraints like railings and gates that help prevent an operator from exiting the machine while elevated. Fall protection equipment should fit properly and be adjusted to each individual operator who uses the machine.


4. Keep both hands on the controls while in motion.

Although many order pickers require you to drive, stop, then lift, there are driveable order pickers on the market that boost picking efficiency by allowing you to rise and drive at the same time. Regardless of the variation you use, your hands should always remain on the controls and in the basket while the unit is in motion. Not only does this keep you in control of the machine, it also protects your hands and arms from injury as you maneuver through tight spaces and narrow aisles.


5. Use clearly defined traffic lanes and keep an eye out for pedestrians.

Large warehouses often have a wide mix of traffic moving through them at any given time. There may be pedestrians, forklifts, small electric lifts, delivery trucks and, in some cases, even bicycles and golf carts. This variety of traffic makes it critical for anyone operating machinery to be vigilant and understand traffic safety policies and procedures. Though an order picker may seem small compared to even a small forklift, they can still be dangerous if an operator doesn’t observe the proper speed limits, right-of-way guidelines, floor markings and pedestrian-only areas.


6. Understand your order picker’s capacity and carry only up to the specified amount of weight.

Order picker capacities can range from several hundred pounds up to 3,000 lb, so it’s important to check your machine’s manual before loading it with material. To determine if a load is within your order picker’s capacity, you must factor in everything that adds weight to the machine, including the load itself, the operator and any tools they have onboard. Some order picker manufacturers will even specify individual capacities for different parts of the machine, like the platform, carry deck and material tray.


7. Always wear proper warehouse PPE.

Although different jobs require different PPE, this warehouse safety tip is worth repeating. PPE is designed to help protect the person wearing it from the risk of certain injuries. Common PPE requirements for order picker operators include:
  • Safety goggles to protect the eyes from dust and other irritants
  • Slip-resistant boots with hard soles to prevent slip/trip hazards and punctures
  • Gloves that protect hands while providing a secure grip
  • High-visibility vests to ensure you can be seen by other operators
  • Hard hats to shield the head and neck from falling objects


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HomeDirectAccessOrder Pickers: Seven Tips for Safer Operation at Your Facility
JLG Industries, Inc. is the world's leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of access equipment. The Company's diverse product portfolio includes leading brands such as JLG® aerial work platforms; JLG, SkyTrak® and Lull® telehandlers; and an array of complementary accessories that increase the versatility and efficiency of these products. JLG is an Oshkosh Corporation Company [NYSE: OSK].
An Oshkosh Corporation Company