Warehouse worker

A warehouse worker


Warehouse workers execute the accurate handling, packing and storage of materials in a warehouse. They receive goods, label them, check quality, store the goods and document any damage. Warehouse workers also monitor stock levels of items, keep inventory and ship goods.

The duties of a warehouse worker typically include:

  • Ensuring cleanliness, tidiness and safety of work environment.
  • Loading and unloading delivery vehicles.
  • Accepting delivery of inventory.
  • Counting and confirming inventory.
  • Inspecting inventory for damage and faults.
  • Communicating errors to relevant parties.
  • Marking and labeling stock.
  • Storing inventory in accessible manner.
  • Loading and wrapping stock on pallets.
  • Building loads with forklift and electronic pallet jack.

Working conditions

Warehouse work is physically strenuous. Warehouse workers are typically required to lift heavy packages, bend, stoop, or operate heavy equipment. Warehouses are often block-long buildings and some workers have to walk long distances repeatedly throughout the day. Depending on the type of merchandise stored, warehouses are fairly clean, well ventilated, and well lighted. However, warehouse workers who work on loading platforms may be exposed to all kinds of weather, and those who work in refrigerated plants must wear protective clothing. To reduce the risk of accidents, warehouse workers are required to follow strict safety regulations.

Warehouse workers generally work full time. Overtime is often available at premium rates, and the work is usually steady all year.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to warehouse worker:

warehouse operator
warehouse picker
warehouse packager
packer and shipper
order clerk
warehouse packer
order picker
warehouse operative

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is required to work as warehouse worker. However, many employers prefer to recruit candidates with at least a high school diploma.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Warehouse worker is a Skill level 1 occupation.

Warehouse worker career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to warehouse worker.

materials handler
warehouse order picker
aircraft groomer
distribution centre dispatcher
hand packer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of warehouse worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of warehouse worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

inventory coordinator
container crane operator
forklift operator
kettle tender
freight transport dispatcher

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of warehouse worker.

  • Types of packaging used in industrial shipments: Know various types of packaging materials used for industrial shipments, according to the type of goods to be shipped. Comply with regulations on packaging of goods.
  • Products coding system: Packaging codes and markings required to implement proper handling procedures for goods.
  • Goods transported from warehouse facilities: Know the goods transported from warehouse facilities. Understand the legal and safety requirements of goods, the hazards that materials may represent; provide solutions and appropriate direction for the handling of goods.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of warehouse worker.

  • Operate warehouse record systems: Operate systems for recording product, packaging, and order information in specific formats and types of record.
  • Operate warehouse materials: Be able to operate pallet jack and similar motorised warehouse equipment, for loading and storage purposes.
  • Sort waste: Manually or automatically sort waste by separating it into its different elements.
  • Clean industrial containers: Clean residual dirt particles from containers. Adapt cleaning process to the customer’s requirements.
  • Maintain physical condition of warehouse: Develop and Implement new warehouse layouts in order to maintain facilities in good working order; issue work orders for repair and replacement operations.
  • Receive goods: Control documentation, unloading and booking of goods with which the receipt from a vendor or from production is posted.
  • Match goods with appropriate packaging according to security procedures: Relate goods to be packed with the required security equipment following appropriate security procedures.
  • Assist in the movement of heavy loads: Provide assistance in the relocation of heavy loads; set up and operate a rigging system of ropes and cables in order to move heavy cargo.
  • Apply techniques for stacking goods into containers: Apply techniques required to stack materials into containers. Use techniques to maximise the space in containers.
  • Stack goods: Stack goods and manufactured products into containers without special treatment or procedure.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
  • Dispatch order processing: Pack and deliver the packed goods to a shipping carrier.
  • Have spatial awareness: Be aware of your position and the space around you. Understand the relationship of objects around you when there is a change of position.
  • Perform cleaning duties: Perform cleaning duties such as waste removal, vacuuming, emptying bins, and general cleaning of the working area. Cleaning activities should follow health and safety regulations if required.
  • Use rigging tools: Employ rigging tools such as cables, ropes, pulleys and winches to safely secure high structures.
  • Handle paperwork related to warehouse stock: Deal with goods notes right after stock delivery; keep stock record up-to-date; prepare and make up invoices.
  • Handle shipment paperwork: Handle paperwork containing information on shipments and attached to goods about to be shipped. Ensure that identification information is complete, visible, and in compliance with all regulations. Check labels showing product counts, final destination, and model numbers.
  • Manage warehouse inventory: Manage warehouse inventory and control storage and movement of warehouse goods. Monitor transactions such as shipping, receiving and putaway.
  • Stay alert: Stay focused and alert at all times; react quickly in the case of unexpected events. Concentrate and do not get distracted performing a task over a long period of time.
  • Load products for dispatch: Load goods appropriately so that they can be sent safely to the receiver.
  • Check for damaged items: Identify products that have been damaged and report the situation.
  • Use warehouse marking tools: Label containers and container tags or products; use warehouse marking and labeling tools.
  • Lift heavy weights: Lift heavy weights and apply ergonomic lifting techniques to avoid damaging the body.
  • Secure goods according to work orders: Fasten bands around stacks or articles prior to shipment or storage.
  • Follow stock control instructions: Stack items according to the stock control instructions received.
  • Implement efficiency plans for logistics operations: Implement efficiency plans developed by managers in facilities. Use techniques, resources, and training in order to improve workplace efficiency.
  • Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
  • Operate weighing machine: Work with a weighing machine to measure raw, half-finished and finished products.
  • Maintain stock control systems: Keep stock control systems up to date and ensure inventory accuracy.
  • Control of expenses: Monitor and maintain effective cost controls, in regards to efficiencies, waste, overtime and staffing. Assessing excesses and strives for efficiency and productivity.
  • Pick orders for dispatching: Pick orders in warehouses destined for dispatching, ensuring that correct numbers and types of goods are loaded and dispatched. Tag and mark product items as requested.
  • Identify damaged goods before shipment: Identify damaged goods before packaging and shipping following established procedures.
  • Operate package processing equipment: Operate electric package processing equipment and control systems.
  • Follow verbal instructions: Have the ability to follow spoken instructions received from colleagues. Strive to understand and clarify what is being requested.
  • Pallets loading: Ability to load and unload pallets on vehicles in a safe way.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of warehouse worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Safety regulations for warehouses: The body of warehouse safety procedures and regulations to prevent incidents and hazards. Follow safety regulations and inspect equipment.
  • Product package requirements: Understand product package requirements to prepare or select materials for packaging purposes.
  • Freight transport methods: Understand different modalities of transport such as air, sea, or intermodal freight transport. Specialise in one of the modalities and possess a deeper knowledge of the details and procedures of that modality.
  • Packaging engineering: The processes of packaging or protecting products for distribution, storage and sale.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of warehouse worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Tend packaging machines: Tend packaging machines such as filling, labelling, and sealing machines. Stock and sort products to be processed according to specifications. Replenish packaging supplies as required, such as boxes, cartons, wrapping paper, plastic sheet, glue, ink, or labels.
  • Cooperate with colleagues: Cooperate with colleagues in order to ensure that operations run effectively.
  • Handle customer complaints: Administer complaints and negative feedback from customers in order to address concerns and where applicable provide a quick service recovery.
  • Apply procedures to ensure cargo complies with customs regulations: Apply the different procedures required to meet customs obligations when transporting goods across borders and arriving via ports/airports or any other logistics hub, such as producing written customs declarations. Apply different procedures for different types of goods, and ensure compliance with shipping regulations.;
  • Manage packaging material: Managing all packaging materials be they primary (wrapping, cans, bottles) or secondary (cartons, crates, pallets).
  • Monitor packaging operations: Observe and supervise the packaging operations undertaken by the workers for compliance to production requirements. Check products for proper packaging such as labeling and date coding in order to ensure appropriate and safe transportation.
  • Analyse packaging requirements: Analyses packaging requirement against the design of the production plan. Perform the analysis considering engineering, economic, ergonomic, and other perspectives.
  • Ensure quality control in packaging: Implement and monitor activities so that all requirements of packing procedures and packing standards are met at all times.
  • Follow written instructions: Follow written directions in order to perform a task or carry out a step-by-step procedure.
  • Adapt to changing situations: Change approach to situations based on unexpected and sudden changes in people’s needs and mood or in trends; shift strategies, improvise and naturally adapt to those circumstances.
  • Handle fragile items: Use different specialised handling for products that are delicate and tend to be broken or damaged easily.
  • Oversee stock quality control: Check overall product quality prior to shipment.
  • Apply transportation management concepts: Apply transport industry management concepts in order to improve transportation processes, reduce waste, increase efficiency, and improve schedule preparation.
  • Manage a warehouse management system: Use software in order to store materials within a warehouse and perform operations such as shipping, receiving and picking.
  • Carry out ship-to-shore operations: Operate ship-to-shore radios and perform processes to exchange information required for vessel operations.
  • Assemble goods: Assemble goods coming from in manufacturing processes or in removing activities.
  • Clean warehouse: Maintain the work area of the warehouse in an organised and clean manner.
  • Handle returns: Manage goods that have been returned by customers, following the applicable goods return policy.
  • Organise information: Arrange information according to a specified set of rules. Catalogue and classify information based on the characteristics of that information.
  • Use barcode scanning equipment: Track the inventory by operating barcode scanning devices.
  • Work in a logistics team: Ability to work confidently within a logistics team, with each member of the team fulfilling a role designed to increase the efficiency of the whole.

ISCO group and title

9333 – Freight handlers

  1. ESCO
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Warehouse Worker Job Description – Betterteam
  4. Warehouse Worker Job Description – StateUniversity.com
  5. Featured image: Photo by Tiger Lily from Pexels
Last updated on June 21, 2022

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