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Order picking trolley versus ladder

Which to choose and when

Author: Dee Jones/25 May 2017/Categories: PREVIOUS BESPOKE PROJECTS, Ladders & Access, Trucks, Trailers & Trolleys

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Let us be very clear first of all, order picking trolleys and ladders are both a sensible and practical option for low risk and for short duration tasks when working at height. The law says ladders can be used for working at height when a risk assessment has shown that using equipment offering a higher level of fall projection is not justified because of a low risk and short duration of use or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered. As a quick guide, if your task will require staying up a ladder or step ladder for 30 minutes at a time, it is be recommended that you use alternative equipment. 

The advantage of an order picking trolley is it gives the operator 3 points of contact at all times, this means two feet and one hand, or when both hands need to be free for a brief period, two feet and the body supported by the rail. Order picking trolleys reduce the risk to the operator from suffering from sore backs, necks and shoulders through repetitively stooping and reaching up to pick boxes from shelving and they also enable the operator to pick/place boxes at a safe ergonomic height in conjunction with shelving. With a ladder the operator would have to drag a box off shelving, then climb down holding the box and possibly climb up to get next one thus increasing the strain/ work load. The big advantage of the order picking trolley here is the operator has a place to store boxes as they are picked from shelving. They also enable the operator to descend from platform facing the correct way unlike a step ladder. The order picking trolley also comes with a manual brake lever to ensure the unit is safe when ascending. Ladders fold up, so risk of trapped fingers and injury.

Happy outcomes

low height picking trolley

Bespoke model for ground floor picking

When a records management company were looking for help and advice on solving on-going health and safety issues across a number of sites in the UK, for picking boxes at medium to high levels using either ladders or bespoke order picking trolleys, they contacted Action Handling as they had heard within the materials handling circles that we had successfully helped solve similar issues for another company within the record management industry.

high reach picking trolley

Order picking trolley supplied 3 years ago to site in Yorkshire

The open grid flooring on this customer's site meant the points of contact on base needed to be oversized, otherwise the feet on the order picking trolley would fall through and make the unit wobble. The order picking trolley with its wide tread wheels and flat access bar eliminated this, making it far more stable than a ladder, whose feet would be prone to fall through the open grid floor and be unstable.

order picking trolley with shelves

New model for client in East London

The customer held a two week trial on-site and was so pleased with the outcome, promptly placed a new order for fourteen new order picking trolleys to be delivered to three further sites. 

We are always pleased to help pass on our experience and knowledge to make your workplace safer.


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