Material Handler Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Material Handler Do?

In a warehouse, manufacturing facility, or other industrial setting, a material handler moves materials and products. They facilitate the safe and efficient flow of materials throughout the facility, supporting production and fulfillment.

Material handlers receive, move, and store materials, record inventory, and perform quality checks. In order to transport materials from one storage location to another, material handlers use equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, and hand trucks. Their responsibilities include ensuring material storage is in the proper location, maintaining accurate inventory records, and inspecting incoming materials for damage. A material handler plays a crucial role in ensuring that materials are available when needed and that products are shipped on time and at the required quality level.

Are you a job seeker?

Browse zengig’s
comprehensive list
of job openings
and apply online

National Average Salary

Material handler salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Material Handler is:


Material Handler Job Descriptions

When it comes to recruiting a material handler, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.

Example 1

[Your Company Name] would not be where it is today without the labor of hardworking and organizationally minded material handlers. In order for our warehouses and production facilities to run smoothly and efficiently, it is imperative that we employ material handlers who can locate, wrap, and convey our products in a speedy and responsible manner. The importance of this work to our day-to-day operations cannot be understated, and therefore we are only interested in applicants who appreciate the gravity of their daily tasks. Fragile products must be handled with care, whereas heavy products must be handled with caution. If you have a well-developed work ethic, a knack for organization, and thrive in fast-paced environments, you might have what it takes to excel as a material handler at [Your Company Name].

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Load and unload incoming and outgoing materials and products
  • Move materials to and from loading docks, delivery trucks, storage, and manufacturing areas
  • Identify and label materials, and record their locations on warehouse shelves to maintain inventory
  • Prepare products for shipment by identifying their location, then pulling, packing, and loading them
  • Operate trucks, forklifts, cranes, and other equipment to move freight
  • Perform and report cycle counts
  • Comply with all warehouse safety rules and guidelines

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Material handlers need to be certified, preferably with on-the-job experience. If possible, candidates should have experience working in a warehouse setting or in logistics, and be able to operate material handling equipment. 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to work well with a team
  • Knowledge of logistical supply chain methods and procedures
  • Proficiency in inventory control
  • Ability to read and understand delivery orders, and work with minimal guidance
  • Ability to operate computers and relevant warehouse management computer software
  • Follow safe work practices and procedures

Preferred qualifications

  • Ability to operate an industrial powered lift truck or forklift according to company procedures and governmental regulations
  • Desire to work in a fast-paced, organized, and positive warehouse environment
  • Ability to frequently lift, push, and slide packages that typically weigh up to 50 lbs, and may weigh up to 70 lbs

Example 2

Position overview

To keep material flowing within the XYZ operation, maintain plant organization and to keep the production floor and WIP racks organized. This position will safely operate a lift truck while moving and storing raw materials, WIP, and finished goods.


  • Perform all tasks required of you in a safe and conscientious manner
  • Check and follow warehouse instructions as posted at Material Handling stations
  • Generate Pick List in the MRS system based on the machine scheduled needs
  • Organize raw materials, packaging supplies, pallets, etc. for the production personnel and processes
  • Perform all inventory and product moves using the RF scanning system; Employ Pick, Scan, Place, and Scan (PSPS) for EVERY fork truck movement of inventory
  • Keep all warehouse racks organized, materials in their proper place, and ensure proper labeling so it is readable from floor
  • Create CHOP labels and properly enter CHOP information into inventory using RM Labeling system
  • Cycle Count your area of responsibility daily
  • Perform regular fork truck checklist procedures and routine maintenance. (Battery Changes)
  • Provide support in any area of the plant to keep a flow of materials throughout the plant
  • Move materials in/out of Hold and Sort area as needed
  • Participate in Kaizen events, perform 6S cleaning of designated areas and complete daily audits as required
  • Perform any task as directed by supervisor or team leader to support plant operation
  • Comply with all policies and procedures, e.g., work rules, quality, GMP, Food Safety, etc.

Skills and job requirements

  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills
  • Demonstrated alignment with ABC Company’s Core Values, teamwork and contribution to a positive team environment
  • Ability to perform basic math and computer functions and RF scanning systems
  • Good organizational skills and be self-motivated
  • Ability to successfully complete XYZ Fork Lift Certification and Material Handling training and operate ALL material handling equipment in plant

Physical requirements

  • Ability to work standing on standup fork truck for 12.25 hour shift
  • Able to withstand heat

Example 3

As a Warehouse Material Handler, you will work with the team to ensure products get where they need to be, unload delivery vehicles, receive inventory, store product, and select and pack customer orders. As an employee-owned company, our employees are key to our success and are given opportunities to learn and grow into higher level positions.

In this role you will

  • Operate warehouse equipment such as pallet jacks, forklifts, and push carts
  • Unload and accurately receive deliveries
  • Store product in specific location and note in system
  • Select and pack customer orders and at times deliver customer orders in light van or delivery vehicle
  • Maintain clean warehouse including following all safety procedures and performing daily safety inspections

What you bring to the table

  • Ability to perform physical requirements in a warehouse environment including lifting up to 70 lbs., cutting wire, climbing ladders, and staying on the move in various temperatures depending on the location
  • Safely operate warehouse equipment and proper use of PPE
  • Good attendance and work ethic
  • Ability to perform tasks quickly and accurately
  • Minimum 18 years of age required

Example 4

A day in the life: 

As a Material Handler you will load and unload material within a warehouse or storage facility. Utilize hand trucks, forklifts, hoists, conveyors, or other handling equipment to move material to and from trucks and within or to the main storage facility and satellite facilities. Receive, unpack, check, and store merchandise or materials. Fill requisitions and orders. Pack, crate, and ship products and materials to distribution center, departments, or assembly line. May operate forklift. May operate a company vehicle up to 50 miles to remote facilities to pick up supplies as needed.

What you’ll do:

  • Receive and enter materials into warehouse management system
  • Maintain and execute materials management programs as designed within the warehouse
  • Document and maintain inventory and ensure production area organization and cleanliness
  • Keep the warehouse area organized and clean. Take out trash and transport cardboard boxes to card board compactor for recycling
  • Operate forklifts to receive shipments or materials or equipment, stack and retrieve supplies and materials
  • Have knowledge of commonly used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Rely on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job
  • May be required to operate a company vehicle to retrieve will-call stock from local suppliers
  • Other duties as assigned

Must haves:

  • Able to work both indoors and outdoors in variable weather conditions, work environment may not be heated or air-conditioned
  • Ability to read and follow spoken and written instruction and make independent decisions appropriate for data and circumstances
  • Bi-lingual with fluency in spoken Spanish and English is a plus
  • Ability to know and follow all proper safety protocols and procedures and safely perform all tasks
  • Ability to manage time, adhere to schedules, and maintain work pace
  • Ability to follow sequencing or order directions for successful completion of task
  • Ability to communicate with, and/or listen to, and/or signal people to convey or exchange information, including giving/receiving directions
  • Prior experience in related work required
  • Possess and maintain current certification in the operations of required forklift or powered industrial truck and related equipment; may require valid driver’s license

Special considerations:

  • Position requires manual dexterity and the ability to maintain physical activity for most of the day
  • Uses up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects, exerts physical force of 10 to 25 pounds frequently, occasionally exerts 20 to 50 pounds of force
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds and hold or lift a variety of objects
  • Must be able to work without sitting for long periods of time. Walking throughout warehouse and satellite storage areas
  • Must be able to lift a wide variety of materials such as boxes of nails, windows, doors, etc. using handling techniques such as seizing, holding, grasping all manner of materials
  • Must be able to grasp and turn steering wheels for trucks and forklifts. Able to grasp tools such as hammers, tin-snips, pliers, wire cutters ,and other hand tools
  • Must be able to reach to place and remove products and pull or push arm-trucks, dollies, carts, and pallet jacks
  • Must be able to read labels on products, supplies, or materials written in English and see all materials and locations in warehouse and satellite facilities. Must be able to see moving vehicles and avoid the same per safety regulations
  • Must be able to hear other vehicles, forklifts, vehicles horns and other warning signals. Able to carry, bend, stoop, turn, kneel, crawl, climb a ladder, and other manual labor activities
  • Depending on location, may be required to be fitted and certified for a respirator

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • OSHA Safety Certificate. OSHA is very important in the warehouse, which is why many employers will demand that candidates have this certification. They will have to complete a 40-hour program covering safety standards that the construction industry and various other industries are expected to adhere to. This program will also train them to recognize a variety of potential health issues and safety hazards that OSHA regulations are designed to offset. In addition to the 40-hour program, more than two years of education or training after high school and more than two years of work experience are also required.
  • EPA Amusement Operators Safety Certification. To receive this certification, candidates have to go through a program that focuses on the safe and proper utilization of equipment and machinery. Many employers like this because this certification means that candidates are less likely to get into any accidents at work. They’ll also need to complete an exam to receive this certification.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Are you comfortable lifting heavy loads and handling fragile objects?
  • Can you maintain a positive attitude in the face of physical labor and tight time frames?
  • Do you have any experience with customer service?
  • Do deadlines and quotas intimidate you?
  • If a package were to go missing on your watch, how would you handle it?
  • How well do you handle supervisor feedback on your performance?
  • Can you name a time at a previous job when you modified your behavior in order to better satisfy a client and/or employer?
  • Have you ever used a forklift, or electric pallet jack?
  • What qualities do you look for when shopping online and trying to get an item delivered?
  • As a material handler, what can you do to assure that the same standard will always be met?

Need help hiring a Material Handler?

We match top professionals with great employers across the country. From filling urgent job openings to developing long-term hiring strategies, our team is here to help. Review our staffing solutions, browse our award-winning Staffing Corner blog, or call today. We look forward to connecting with you soon.

Browse A-Z Job Descriptions