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Safety Basics - Order Picking
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Case Study

The following case study shows how this guidance can be applied to the system of work for picking objects from a walk-in bay or from the floor to a pallet.


Activity Description
Objects are manually picked from a storage pallet in pallet racking. The racking design may be such that the storage pallet is in a walk-in level, or it may be stored in the first, second or third level of the racking. Objects on pallets at the second or third level may be out of the person's reach and so the person needs to be raised or a mechanical aid must be used to reach these objects.

Picked objects are placed onto a picking pallet and stacked until the pallet is 2m high. The picking pallet is moved from one location to another location using a hand pallet truck, an electric pallet mover or a forklift. When the order is finished or when the picking pallet is full, it is stretch-wrapped and moved to Despatch. At some stage, the picking pallet may need to be partially stretch wrapped to stabilise the load and allow further objects to be stacked on top.

The objects picked in this scenario include boxes, bags, buckets, small drums and other easily handled objects weighing up to 25kg and long, bulky, unstable or awkward objects weighing up to 25kg.

Note: The following objects are out of scope for this scenario:

Objects longer than a standard pallet; and
Objects above 25kg as the workplace requires these are handed by two persons.

Risk Assessment
A risk assessment conducted under the Manual Handling Regulations established that there was risk due to repetitive application of force, sustained movements, repetitive awkward postures, high force and environmental conditions in cold storage facilities only. Reference to the Order Picking Weights diagram indicated that some picked objects exceeded the weights in the diagram.

Source of Risk Details
Workplace layout Moving order pallet over long distances involves sustained forces. (see solution a)

Storing objects in picking locations without considering how stackable they are on the order pallet may require that the employees criss-cross the warehouse to build their pallet or they will need to repack the order pallet several times while selecting an order. (see solution b)

Locating a picking pallet on a high level may require that employee use other equipment to raise them to pick objects from that location. (see solutions c, e & f)

Aisle width determines what equipment can be used in aisles. (see solutions g & h )
Racking design Height of the first beam determines whether persons have to stoop to enter the first bay. (see solution d)

Double bay racking restricts access to the rear of pallets. (see solution i)

Double deep racking restricts access to the rear of the pallets. (see solution j)

Racking design and specifications will determine whether order picking forklift or other such equipment can be used with it. (see solution k)
Tools & Equipment Design issues of the picking stick such as weight, length, balance, method of selecting objects and how to store the object will affect how far someone has to reach to get an object, the static load on the hands, arms and shoulders, and how readily it will be used. (see solution l)

Using a hand pallet mover over long distances will require the sustained application of force. (see solution a)

Using a platform ladder to pick objects will require repetitive climbing and descending of stairs while holding a load (see solutions e & f)

Hand stretch wrapping requires repetitive awkward postures and sustained forces (see solution bb)
System of Work - Team handling Not enough competent persons available to assist with handling (see solutions e, h, m & n)
System of Work - Work rates High pick rates will increase the amount of fast and jerky forces and repetitive awkward postures (see solutions r)
System of Work - Work flow Delivery and loading schedules which impose a strict time limit on manual picking or replenishing will increase the handling frequency and increase the amount of fast and jerky movements (see solution s).
System of Work - Job rotation Work/rest cycles do not allow persons to recover sufficiently from the work undertaken (see solution q).
System of Work - Shift length Amount of work done over the shift leads to physical exhaustion. (see solution r)
Objects handled Bag/sack/carton design
  • Objects not stored on pallets prevents their picking or replenishing by mechanical aids (see solutions a & u).
  • Lack of handles or poor placement of handles will require higher force to handle object (see solution v).
  • Weight and size of objects handled will determine postures and forces to be used. The order picking weights diagram demonstrates weights that could be handled from various locations in racking or pallets (see solution w).
  • Type of material stored in bags affects the ease of handling e.g. flour and plastic beads form a semi-solid object that is difficult to handle due to its instability while other material such as cement, sand and salts can be firmer and stable when handled (see solution x).
  • Objects with unstable contents or where the centre of gravity is not central can be difficult to handle. Lifting or carrying the heavier side of an object away from the body poses a risk as does handling an unstable object (see solution x & m).
Mixed loads
Picking of small objects on top of heavy large objects on a picking pallet where access to the top layer cannot be gained by standing on objects stored on the floor requires high force to be exerted in awkward postures to reach these top objects (see solution y).
Environmental conditions Lack of instruction in how to minimise risk by using the appropriate equipment, procedures and techniques during this task (see solution m).

If a bag or sack is lifted flat, the employee cannot get the load close to the body, which increases the risk. If a bag or sack is picked up and carried on end, then the hands, arms and shoulders predominantly support the weight. The risk of injury increases if loads are handled with smaller muscle groups (see solution m).

Handling objects over floor surfaces that are uneven, damaged, sloped and sometimes wet and slippery will expose persons to sudden and unexpected forces (see solution o).

Picking objects in areas of poor lighting may mean that more awkward postures are adopted to read the label (see solution z)

Picking objects in hot temperatures or close to radiating sources of heat such as the roof, may cause sweating and will expose persons to sudden and unexpected forces (see solution aa)

It is usual to implement a number of these risk control options together to reduce the risk as far as is practicable:
    a. Use powered mobile plant to move picking pallet
    b. Group all stackable objects so that the base of the picking pallet can be selected first.
    c. Only use first level of racking for picking.
    d. Height of the first beam to be 1.85m or more above the floor
    e. Order picking forklift used to pick from higher levels of racking
    f. Purpose-built mobile work platform or similar device used to raise employee when picking a few objects from higher levels of racking
    g. Use reach forklifts in narrow aisles to mechanically load pallets.
    h. Use order picking forklifts in very narrow aisles to pick objects.
    i. Use single bay racking where good access is required to both the front and the rear of the pallet.
    j. Use double deep racking for storage pallets only.
    k. Ensure racking specifications such as height, angle from perpendicular, floor gradient and level are appropriate for use with order picking forklift or other such equipment.
    l. Use a lightweight picking stick that can reach to the rear of a pallet to move objects to the front for picking.
    m. Provide instruction, training and supervision on techniques for safe handling of objects to ensure competency of persons required to pick or replenish objects; e.g. how to use equipment and how to select appropriate techniques with lowest risk for the conditions encountered. A more appropriate procedure than to lift objects and carry objects is to pull and slide objects onto a pallet within the Best Working Zone.
    n. Provide assistance from other persons as required.
    o. Fix slippery and uneven surfaces.
    p. Implement a regular maintenance program on mechanical aids, pallets movers and racking.
    q. Ensure adequate work/rest cycles to allow persons to recover from the physical work undertaken in manual picking or replenishing.
    r. Ensure that the work rate for manual picking or replenishing is matched to the shift length. Any increase in shift length should result in a decrease in the number of objects handled per hour per person.
    s. Schedule the packing and unpacking of containers when there are adequate numbers of persons and time to do the job at a safe pace.
    t. Ensure manual picking and replenishing work rates are determined in consultation and take into account the total amount of work required to be conducted over a shift.
    u. Use a mechanical system such as layer picker, vacuum system, robot and the like to pick objects.
    v. Ensure objects are stored in cartons with handles.
    w. Allocate objects to picking locations in line with the Best Working Zone weight tables.
    x. Allocate objects to picking locations after considering their ease of handling.
    y. Limit the total height of the picking pallet to 1.2 to 1.6m.
    z. Ensure appropriate lighting for the tasks required.
    aa. Ensure picking near high radiant heat loads, such close to the roof, is conducted during periods of the day where the heat load is minimised or provide cooling.
    ab. Use an automated stretch-wrapping machine.

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Dossiers parents :

Voir:  manutention charges equationreviniosh    picking\picking_1.php   manutention_generalites.php  et  introduction_ergonomie.php   prelevementosha_usa.php


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