Handler jobs use machinery to move different materials short distances around factories, construction sites, or warehouses. These types of jobs are classified by the type of equipment that they operate or the goods that they handle. Their specific duties vary by industry and also by work setting. Mainly a physically demanding position, a handler job will require an individual to lift and carry heavy objects and sometimes work out doors despite the weather conditions. Generally working 8 hours shifts, some employers may require working nights, weekends, or even overnight so that demands may be met.
The education and training necessary for material handler jobs are not formal since the bulk of the skills used on the job are explained through on the job training. Most workers are at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Workers that handle machinery or hazardous material must be trained in safety awareness and procedures which are standardized through the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fifteen states and six cities have laws that require handler workers to be licensed.
In 2006 there were 4.8 million material mover jobs in 2006 which mostly were employed within the wholesale trade or retail trade industries. Handler jobs are projected to have little or no change in employment through 2006 to 2016 although the employment is expected to grow within the warehousing and storage industry as more firms contract out their warehousing to reduce costs. Job openings will continue to occur from the need to replace workers that transfer to different fields of work or leave the work force.
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