From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- Palletizing Boxes

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Ergonomic case study for workers palletizing boxes. Pick-up carton: The worker picks up a carton from a 27 inch high conveyor system.

Task Prior to Abatement (Illustration)


Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Medical records. A 44 year-old warehouseman sustained a low – back injury which induced a permanent disability with work restrictions of no repetitive bending.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

Lifting and lowering is required to pick-up and stack the cartons.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Bending at the waist is required to place the carton on the pallet.

Bending/reaching is required when the worker places the carton at the far end of the pallet causing stresses to the shoulder and the low back.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

A manual pallet unitizer was placed under the pallet. This device automatically adjusts and keeps the pallet height at the optimum level for the worker. This device also rotates 360 degrees which reduces walking and reaching.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

An employee with a permanent work restriction due to an injury from this task could continue working in the same job. The employer avoided business costs of retraining the injuried employee and developing a replacement employee.

Ergonomic Solution (Cost)


Ergonomic Solution (Illustration)


Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

The employee could perform the job responsibilities without worsening his low back condition.


Pallet unitizer may be powered or manual depending on frequency of use.


Oregon Department of Insurance and Finance, Workers’ Compensation Division. Worksite Modification Digest. Salem, Oregon: Oregon Department of Insurance and Finance, 1991.