NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Ergonomics guidelines for small lot delivery systems.

Automotive Industry Action Group
Southfield, MI: Automotive Industry Action Group, 2007 Jun; :1-39
This easy-to-use guideline provides not only a systematic process for analyzing and evaluating musculoskeletal injury (or disorder) risk factors in Small Lot Delivery Systems (SLDS) but also recommendations for the design of material handling tasks and material handling systems. This guideline contains recommendations, not mandates, which are applicable during material handling system 'design' and 'redesign' activities. The scope of this document includes the following: 1. Analysis of lift, lower, and carry tasks of full and empty containers; 2. Assessment of manual material handling jobs involving a combination of multiple different manually handled containers (weight, type, size, location, frequency); 3. Analysis of delivery points (lift/lower origins, height, reach, and clearance); 4. Depalletization process; 5. Tugger and trailer selection. Section 1 provides a basic description of a small lot delivery system. Section 2 provides ergonomic guidelines and recommendations aimed at reducing the musculoskeletal injury (or disorder) risk factors associated with individual tasks. It discusses the following topics: 1. Rack and shelf design; 2. Horizontal reaches; 3. Container and tote characteristics; 4. Tugger and trailer characteristics; 5. Depalletizing stock; 6. Manual material handling techniques. Even if conditions are designed to optimize each lift to the degree feasible, the cumulative impact of multiple lifts may pose a hazard. To address this issue, Section 3 discusses analysis of the ergonomics of the cumulative activity of material handlers. The recommendations in this document are taken from a variety of existing sources including the Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation (<a href=""target="_blank"></a>). These guidelines are designed to accommodate the physical capacity of at least 75 percent of the female population (encompassing approximately 99 percent of the male population) and accommodate the anthropometry of all but the smallest 5 percent of women and the largest 5 percent of men. Anthropometric data used to generate these guidelines are derived from U.S. populations). (1 inch (2.5 cm) was added to all anthropometric data to account for industrial footwear.) SLDS are characterized by many complexities, including: 1. The non-cyclical nature of a material handler's job; 2. Tasks that combine two or more activities such as lifting, lowering, carrying, walking, driving, etc.; 3. Variation in the roles and responsibilities of material handlers; 4. Frequently changing delivery schedules and routes. To account for these, other analyses may be useful in addition to the ones presented in this document.
Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Automotive-industry; Materials-handling; Manual-materials-handling; Manual-lifting
Publication Date
Document Type
Book or book chapter
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Ergonomics guidelines for small lot delivery systems
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division