Lifting techniques

June 1, 2011

Items on a pallet jack can weigh up to 100 pounds, making caution when handling a necessity, according to OSHA. Lifting or placing items on a pallet causes many workers to bend at the waist repeatedly, creating possible ergonomics problems. These problems are exacerbated when the heaviest objects are placed on the bottom of the pallet for stability and workers are required to lift the heaviest items from the most awkward position.

To prevent some of the more common mistakes workers make in handling materials on pallets, OSHA offers the following advice:

  • Raise the height of the bottom level so workers can leave objects with minimal bending of the torso. This way, workers will be able to keep the load close to the body when lifting and carrying.
  • Provide height-adjustable picking equipment so loads can be maintained at a comfortable level.
  • Educate employees on the dangers of bending at the waist when lifting loads. Be sure all employees use proper lifting techniques.
  • Consider using a palletizer or stacking extra pallets on the jack to elevate the load.
  • When possible, using powered equipment is preferred to reduce ergonomic strain.