In the past, warehouse skills were manual skills. A worker had to be able to lift a certain amount of weight, operate a pallet jack and possibly a forklift. While these abilities are still necessary in some warehouse positions, modern warehouse workers need to be able to master a variety of computer-based skills. Since warehouses are now equipped with RF barcode scanning equipment, basic skills include training on this equipment. Safety is always key. Workers must be able to comply with OSHA requirements.
Warehouse employees receive and record receipt of goods into the warehouse. Cases are physically removed from trucks, placed on pallets and racked. At the same time, cases are barcoded and scanned into the warehouse records. A warehouse worker must know how to use the barcode scanner and understand the importance of scanning items into the warehouse system. Cases or pallets that are shelved without being scanned are lost in plain sight, since the computer does not know they are there.
Between the time goods are received at the warehouse and shipped out, warehouse workers may need to move items around within the warehouse. Depending on the type of operation, cases may be transferred to other areas or containers several times. Boxes that are trucked in on pallets may be removed from the pallets or relocated with other cases for long term storage. Cases are sometimes broken down into smaller-size cartons for distribution. Workers generate labels for these new cartons using information that has been scanned into the system through original barcodes and input at departments' terminals. Warehouse employees learn to avoid errors by handling containers as few times as possible.
A warehouse worker should know how to use the software that will allow him to locate a shelved item or pallet. If the warehouse is a third party holding facility, the worker knows how to generate an inventory of items a given company has shipped to the warehouse. Workers learn to input information using handheld scanners and stationary terminals. Since the keypad on the handheld unit is different from a standard computer keyboard, workers must learn two sets of commands for each function.
Shipping and Logistics
As items are ordered by customers or removed by shippers, warehouse employees must be able to locate cases. Item removal is a test of the warehouse's efficiency. Warehouse logistics workers generate UPS and USPS labels based on shipping information that has been entered into the system.
Follow Safety Regulations
Warehouse employees must follow OSHA regulations. These regulations mandate the use of safety equipment and personal protective equipment. OSHA is especially concerned with aisle and loading dock obstructions, so workers must be able to recognize hazards. Employers must clearly mark permanent aisles and passageways to exits. Warehouse workers must know how to secure stacked containers so they cannot fall or slide.
- U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Admin. Regulations (Standards 29 CFR); Part 1910 OSH Standards; Subpart D Walking-Working Surfaces; Standard 1910.22 General Requirements
- U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Admin. Regulations (Standards 29 CFR); Part 1910 OSH Standards; Subpart N Materials Handling and Storage; Standard 1910.176 Handling Materials - General
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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