OSHA

What are the OSHA Guidelines for operating an Order Picker?

Oct 07, 2020
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We asked the experts and were referred to the Cal OSHA General Industry Safety Order 3656 for Order Pickers and Stocker Pickers for the answers. If you have any questions after reading this, be sure to check the OSHA regulations for the state where your facility is located.

It is important to follow OSHA regulations when order picking at elevated heights. We asked the experts and were referred to the Cal OSHA General Industry Safety Order 3656 for Order Pickers and Stocker Pickers for the answers. For additional information be sure to check the OSHA regulations for the state where your facility is located.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

1.  Should operators lower the order picker forklift to near floor-level before moving to the next pick location? Yes. Although lowering the forklift before moving might seem counterproductive, it is important to put safety first when picking from elevated heights.

2.  Can an order picker operator travel if the platform height exceeds 36 inches?  Yes, if the truck’s platform exceeds 36 inches but no more than 152 inches, it may travel at a maximum speed of 2.5 mph.

3.  At what elevated height is travel not allowed for order pickers? As a rule, if a lift truck is elevated above 152 inches,.travel is not permitted.

4.  Are there exceptions for order picker travel above 152 inches? Yes. There are exceptions:

  • A truck is designed to travel within rails, is rail guided, or is electronically wire-guided.
  • The truck has a constant pressure inching button that will return to neutral when released by the operator. This can be in the form of a control handle.

5.  What is the necessary for order picker work platforms? Order pickers must have a work platform that is least 20 inches wide and  is securely attached to the lifting carriage or forks. The open sides of the  work platform must have standard guardrails.

6.  What is the required height at which an order picker’s warning light must activate?  A warning light must automatically activate when an order picker’s platform is six feet or higher and the forklift is in motion. The light, which needs to be flashing or rotating, must be placed somewhere on the non-elevating portion of the truck, and between four and six feet high.

7.  Which equipment is recommended to prevent a lift truck from running into storage racks or product?  Guide rails, or electronic (or similar) guidance are suggested when lift trucks are operating in an area only used for stock pickers, side loaders, or order pickers.

8.  What are some best practices when operating stock pickers, order pickers or side loaders? Although OSHA approves travel at elevated heights with the previously mentioned exceptions, there are a few best practices to follow.

  • Minimize travel when the truck is elevated.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other forklifts and pedestrians when the truck is elevated.
  • Make sure the operator is aware of his or her environment at all times.
  • The operator should honk the horn when lowering the order picker compartment or traveling through intersections. This will help to make others aware of the truck’s presence.
  • Travel at safe speeds at all times.

If you have additional questions on OSHA guidelines for an order picker forklift or other material handling questions, please feel free to contact Raymond West. We are happy to answer any of your questions.