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  • Order pickers should only be used with the proper safety equipment.

Unlike forklifts, order pickers are designed to lift the operator to retrieve items. However, there are potential hazards from falling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that operators wear appropriate fall protection equipment that is properly fitted and adjusted unless guardrails are in place. OSHA strongly encourages the use of body harnesses, rather than belts, on elevated platforms of Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs).

A body belt is allowed to be used as part of a travel restraint system; however, it must eliminate the possibility of an employee going over the edge of a walking-working surface. A travel restraint system rigged to allow free fall even a small distance would not be an acceptable system under OSHA’s Subpart D Walking-Working Surfaces requirements. This is typically problematic with order pickers because of the size of a platform and the type of lanyard used.

A self-retracting lanyard does not eliminate the possibility of an employee going over the edge; therefore, it cannot be used as part of a travel restraint system. Self-retracting lanyards can only be used as part of a personal fall arrest system.

If a “static” lanyard and a body belt are used, the “static” lanyard must be short enough to prevent the employee from stepping off the edge. This means an employer would have to have multiple lanyard lengths to match the heights of all employees using them. Employers would also need to ensure the correct length is used by the correct employee.