Order Pickers are designed to take the forklift operator up to the rack & stack the load. Unlike the Electric Stacker which is used for storing and retrieving loads from racking at short heights, an order picker is designed with a platform for the operator to stand on and easily access inventory at greater heights. They can commonly be found at warehouses requiring high stacking of products. Since an order picker requires vertical maneuvering and walking into & out of the cabins, there is always a risk of the operator falling from a height. In order to avoid such accidents, there are a few safety precautions that could be followed. To start with, the operator must hold a valid order picker license and should practically demonstrate safe operating skills. The understanding of the working of harnesses, lanyards and inertia reels are essential since they could act as life-saving devices in the event of a fall.
There are two major dangers associated with Order Pickers
Damage to the operator – In case the operator falls and the lanyards or inertia reels holding him are too long, the operator will remain suspended below the platform or within racking. The operator will swing around into nearby objects mimicking the action of a pendulum. This could result in serious injuries such as fractures, muscle strains, and concussion.
Damage to the harness & lanyards – Alternatively, the harness and the lanyards can also be damaged if they brush against sharp objects or corners, causing loss to the strings and a potential risk to the safety of the operator.
A number of preventive measures can be applied to reduce or eliminate the fall risks as described below
- Operators should be banned from walking directly onto pallets attached to order pickers.
- Units should be equipped with a fully enclosed platform.
- Limiting the length of lanyards and inertia reel line to prevent the pendulum effect and saving workers from falling off.
- The harness, lanyard and inertia reel combinations should have a personal energy absorber to prevent injury due to a sudden fall arrest.
- The angle between the block and worker should be within designer specification when using an inertia reel.
- The fall arrest line should not come in contact with the edges when used with an inertia reel.
- A wire can be used as a lanyard to reduce the risk of the line cutting in case of a fall.
- The distance between the order picker and the rack should be minimized in order to avoid tripping off the gap. This also helps limit the length of the lanyard or reel line.
- Decrease the depth of the pallet racking to limit lanyard length.
- When using an inertia reel, the block should be located well away to avoid the possibility of hitting a worker’s head.
If you are looking for your options on order pickers, electric forklifts, pallet trucks, and other warehousing equipment, visit Linde MHE products.