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Handling Gaylord Shipping Boxes at the Warehouse: 4 Safety Tips

Gaylord boxes are named after the Gaylord Container Company, which manufactures the corrugated boxes in various sizes. As we’ve discussed in other blogs, Gaylords are crucial for the supply chain: The boxes are strong, light, and almost endlessly customizable.

Handling Gaylord Shipping Boxes at the Warehouse: 4 Safety Tips

Of course, they’re also heavy when fully loaded. If your warehouse sends or receives Gaylord boxes, you need to make sure your workers understand the best practices of material handling.

It’s not just about OSHA compliance — proper material handling will improve efficiency and throughput. Here are a few crucial tips to keep in mind when developing your material handling strategy.

1. Avoid lifting or unloading Gaylord shipping boxes manually.

OSHA recommends limiting single-person lifts to 50 pounds or less. This isn’t an official standard, but it’s a good rule of thumb for compliance with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act.

Even if you’re handling lighter boxes, manual lifting should be discouraged; appropriate material handling equipment (MHE) can perform the work much more efficiently without putting workers at risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Remember, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a big deal for warehouses: They’re responsible for about 33% of reported causes of all newly reported occupational injuries, which makes them the single-largest cause of work-related illness. 


2. When manual lifting is unavoidable, use smart lifting practices.

The bottom line is that if you can avoid manual lifting through engineering controls, that’s the best practice. Of course, that’s not always possible. If your workers must handle Gaylord containers, follow OSHA’s guidance:

Gaylord Dumper

  • Measure the potential risks for workers by using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lifting equation.
  • Avoid repetitive lifting, twisting, and unnatural movements.
  • Lift Gaylord containers close to the body, between mid-thigh and mid-chest height. This is where the arms and back can lift the most weight with the least amount of effort.
  • Enforce proper handholds. Where possible, use containers with larger handholds that can accommodate workers with larger hands.
  • Rotate lifting tasks to limit the time that individual workers spend lifting heavy loads.

3. Make sure that stacked Gaylords aren’t a hazard.

OSHA 1910.176(b) requires that the “storage of material shall not create a hazard.” More specifically:

“Storage of material shall not create a hazard. Bags, containers, bundles, etc., stored in tiers shall be stacked, blocked, interlocked and limited in height so that they are stable and secure against sliding or collapse.”

To that end, Gaylord shipping boxes must be used with pallets when stacked for vertical storage. Stacks should be located a safe distance from regular forklift traffic lanes to reduce the chances of an impact.

For long-term storage, choose Gaylord containers designed for the purpose. Plastic boxes may be preferable to cardboard, and depending on where your warehouse is located, you may need containers with additional weatherproofing.

4. Use specialized Gaylord dumpers to empty your containers.

Proper material handling equipment is always worth the investment, especially when you’re performing tasks that could lead to product loss or worker injuries under the wrong circumstances.

Solus Group offers the Mobile Gaylord Dumper (GLD), a full-service material handling solution for Gaylord containers and all other pallet-sized bins. With models rated for loads of 2,000 to 4,000 lbs., the GLD features simple push-button operation and low-maintenance closed hydraulic circuits. Powered Mobile Skid Tilter

For manual loading and unloading, choose MHE that makes the process easier on workers (and more efficient overall):

  • The Powered Mobile Skid Tilter (PMST) tilts loads to a comfortable working height, reducing fatigue by repositioning Gaylords over 90° with a 2,000 to 4,000 lbs. capacity.
  • The Ground-Level Tilt Table (GTT) is a low-footprint solution that tilts containers via a convenient floor toggle switch. It features loading access from three sides and a self-contained hydraulic power unit.

If you’re ready to build a material handling strategy that optimizes your warehouse’s workflow, we’re here to help. Call the material handling experts at 314-696-0200 today to explore options.