General Warehouse Kit Picker

Warehouse | Manufacturing | Small Business


1. Organizations Involved

Sauna and steam bath manufacturing company (‘the Company’)
Fanshawe College, London, Ontario (Student Project)


2. Description of the Case


2.1 Introduction/Background

  • The Company is responsible for the manufacturing, construction, and delivery of saunas and steam baths. The worker analyzed was responsible for gathering materials for the sauna kits (i.e., kit picker) and cutting wood.
  • The worker performs 10 picks per kit and brings the product back to their prep table. This is repeated for four kits (1 kit/hr). The worker then cuts wood using a table saw for the remainder of the shift (3hrs). The worker is subjected to heavy lifting, extended reaches, soft tissue compression, repetitive movements, and risk of falling from a height.


2.2 Goal

To provide recommendations for the unacceptable tasks to reduce MSD risk and additional recommendations for continuing improvement.

2.3 What was done and how?

  • A force gauge was used to quantify task demands. Tasks were analyzed using U of M 3DSSPP software, Liberty Mutual tables, Arm Force Field, and RULA. Those deemed unacceptable were not suitable for a 25th percentile female and selected for further analysis. Analysis was performed using Humantech software to identify high-risk tasks using a risk priority score (RPS). These tasks included retrieving the door casing and heater guard, the sauna door, the heater, the box of rocks, and cutting wood.

  • Several recommendations were proposed and grouped into three viable options. After calculating the return on investments (ROI), which included the WSIB projected costs for the probable injuries noted, and considering the infrastructure of the warehouse, option three was ultimately proposed. The recommendations and the respective area of risk addressed are presented below.

    • MDF-wood flooring: reduce the risk of a fall

    • Stairclimbing trolly: remove soft tissue compression

    • Pallet dividers (hockey dryland tiles) + a carrying strap: improve posture and decrease force needed to retrieve box of rocks

    • Carrying belt system: improve posture

    • Job rotation: decreases repetition and prolonged standing, increases productivity.


2.4 Result of the changes?

If the Company utilizes the products recommended, they would reduce their RPS from 48 to 19 for the picking tasks, which would be within acceptable limits. If job rotation is implemented, the RPS for wood cutting would be reduced from 18 to 14.4. In the terms of job rotation, it was found that productivity increases by 5.4% which was incorporated into the ROI benefit (Mossa, 2015). The projected ROI was found to be 5318% and 663% for the picking and wood cutting tasks respectively.


3. Success Factors/Challenges


3.1 Successes

Provided the Company with insights on areas of improvement. If recommendations are to be applied in the future, much of the risk of MSD would be mitigated.


3.2 Challenges

The Company is based out of a small warehouse and thus lack of space was a limiting factor for recommendations. Company reported that the recommendations could not be applied at the time of assessment.


4. Transferability

Recommendations are not limited to this industry. Several of the suggestions can be applied to differing warehouses and manual material handling tasks. Job rotation is also applicable to various fields, not only manufacturing. Methodology is not exclusive to manufacturing or warehouse environments.


5. Further Information


Contact: Allison Stephens, MSc, CCPE, CPE

Professor and Coordinator, Advanced Ergonomics Studies

Fanshawe College

London, Ontario, Canada



6. References and Resources

  • Mossa, G., Boenzi, F., Digiesi, S., Mummolo, G., & Romano, V. A. (2016). Productivity and ergonomic risk in human based production systems: A job-rotation scheduling model. International Journal of Production Economics, 171, 471–477.

  • Workers' compensation costs. Injury Facts. (2022, September 26). Retrieved December 11, 2022, from

  • WSIB Ontario Health and safety statistics. WSIB Ontario. (2022, October 31). Retrieved December 11, 2022, from




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DISCLAIMER: CRE-MSD receives funding through a grant provided by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.

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