Warehouse packers, also called picker packers, work for businesses across the United States. Some positions require training, education or experience in the industry in order to conform to regulations or use specialised equipment. Other positions may focus on an employee's strength or endurance, while others suit people from all educational and physical backgrounds.
Before packing products, warehouse workers must clean and prepare containers and evaluate all shipping materials for damages or defects. Packers count inventory and place products into appropriate boxes and shipping containers. Labels affixed to the containers show product counts, destination, model numbers and other important information. Employees verify, record and sign off on this information before transporting it to a quality control or loading area. Some packers may assist with loading trucks or other transportation vehicles or by filling out additional paperwork.
Warehouse packers work in many different industries. Packers at food and vegetable preserving warehouses prepare and preserve foods, can the finished product and package cans into large containers for shipping. Pharmaceutical packers may package medicines or medical products used in hospitals, clinics and laboratories. Paper mills create a variety of pulp, paper and paperboard products that require packaging by hand as well as with specialised machinery. Other industries that employ picker packers include the beverage and processed food, tobacco and iron or steel industries.
Warehouse packers should be physically fit. Packing jobs may require heavy lifting and long hours standing on your feet. Spatial organisation and basic math as well as good reading and writing skills are also required. Food service workers follow stringent health code laws and may wash fruit or sanitise equipment during preparation. General product packers may assemble portions of the product before packaging. Some warehouse packer jobs require the use of specialised machinery that requires additional training or expertise.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009 the hourly income for warehouse packers averaged £8.50. The average annual income totalled £17,758. The tobacco industry employs the highest paid warehouse packers. These packers make, on average, £13.1 an hour, or £27,371 a year. Income varies with experience, with high paying jobs naturally assigned to more experienced workers. Knowledge of the equipment used to package products also helps workers achieve higher paying positions.
In May 2009 Wisconsin hired 14,300 warehouse packers, more than any other state. These packers averaged a lower salary than Missouri, the state with the second highest number of warehouse packers working within its borders. Missouri's 10,550 pickers packers made on average 50p an hour more. Seasonal variations affect the fruit and vegetable packing industry due to growing seasons in different climates for different products. Other industries may regularly offer jobs to new recruits as the hard work required results in high employee turnover.