The Fundamentals of Manual Palletization

The Fundamentals of Manual Palletization

Palletization is one of the most vital aspects of logistics and materials handling applications. Since its advent during World War II, palletization has made loading and unloading more efficient. In those days, palletization made it easier for a single person to unload a railcar within hours when it had previously taken two men a day or longer to achieve the same task.

Through the use of Selective Pallet Rack systems and other palletization equipment, this process has made major changes in warehousing and other applications. Here we’ll discuss what manual palletization entails, which comes with several benefits over semi-automated and automated palletization.

The Basics

The manual palletization process entails the use of pallets to hold various items which an employee loads by hand. For instance, workers may remove items as they come off an assembly line and place them onto a pallet, or employees may use palletization to organize customer orders. Oftentimes, the pallet is placed on the floor, a forklift, or a pallet jack.

There are several benefits of using manual palletization over automated and semi-automated palletization in some cases. These could include the ability to avoid the costs of automation, along with increased flexibility and, in some cases, more efficiency of operation. Automated palletization is ideal for many applications with cartons that are uniformly sized, though in the past the robotic systems used in automated palletization have performed inefficiently.

How to Avoid Manual Palletization Accidents and Injuries

The physical involvement of employees in the palletization process in manual applications can result in injuries if precautions aren’t taken. Some of the more common injuries that can occur in palletization include shoulder and back strain, along with forearm and wrist injuries. Workers could also injure their feet during heavy lifting if they drop boxes on their feet or catch their feet in pallet openings.

Steps to avoid injury and minimize the risk of workplace incidents could include:

  • Training employees on proper pallet lifting technique, such as avoiding twisting and making sure the load stays close to the torso
  • Maintaining the load within the area between the knees and shoulders with the help of rotating or elevated platforms
  • Implementation of conveyors to keep cases at the ideal height
  • Ergonomic designs for cartons and other palletization materials
  • Using tools such as “pick sticks” to keep packages close to the body prior to lifting

All of these essentials illustrate how manual palletization is still one of the best ways for businesses to load and unload various materials. We’re not likely to see manual palletization become irrelevant anytime soon, as long as workplaces remain efficient and safe using this storage and transport method.

Categories: Business

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