Effects of height and hand position during a container holding task were evaluated in 30 manual materials handling workers. Two plywood containers of identical dimensions, one weighing 9 kilograms (kg) and the other 13kg, were used. Handles were designed to initially pivot so that natural hand angles could be measured, then to lock in place when a force is applied. Six different handle positions were used and forces on handles were measured using hand dynamometers. Heart rate was recorded and the force exerted by each hand on the hand dynamometer handle was measured. Each subject performed 36 holding trials comprising all combinations of two container weights, six handle positions, and floor, waist, and shoulder task heights. The effect of handle position was large and altered the cost to the worker by as much as a 25 percent change in container weight. Half of the indices checked including heart rate showed the equivalent of a 50 percent change. Task height also had a very large effect on all indices. The upper limbs and the container interacted in different ways at each of the three heights involved. Total force, representing combined right and left hands, was approximately 50 percent higher than the container weight. Symmetrical handle positioning minimized hand forces. Container weight had very little effect on handle and body angles.