Material Handler

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • San Diego, CA 92121, USA
  • Apr 07, 2022
Full time Other Administrative Positions

Job Description


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


Under general supervision, supports Procurement Service's Logistics Operations by performing a variety of shipping, receiving, distribution, mail and various logistic services to the Institute. Exercises some judgment in accordance with established policies, guidelines, procedures, techniques, quality improvement objectives, and safety, environmental, and/or infection control standards.  Involves tasks that require training in shipping, receiving and mail service processes.  Follows appropriate protocols for cost effectiveness, on-time and accurate delivery and appropriate handling of confidential, perishable, priority or otherwise sensitive mail or packages.   Position follows all applicable local, state, federal and international laws, regulations and instructions related to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). 

Assists all functional areas in performing required duties when time allows and provides backup during absences, other peak volume times, and upon request. Performs administrative and support duties, which include but is not limited to, ordering supplies, filing, scanning, faxing, answering phones, updating the mail system, reporting postage recharges, Supporting the updates of compressed gas and liquid nitrogen location maps, generating and validating reports and documents, entering data accurately and providing a consistent, high level of customer service.


Receiving Duties (65%)

  • Receives and distributes laboratory and administrative supplies and equipment, including materials such as capital equipment, dangerous goods, perishables, live animals and infectious substances, according to training and established guidelines and procedures. Records capital equipment information and assigns ID tag numbers.
  • Signs for deliveries from freight carriers, confirms quantity and ship to address of packages, notes quantity match and any visible external damage or irregularities in packages. Unloads freight both manually and with equipment such as dock plates, forklifts, dollies and pallet jacks.
  • Sorts and opens packages, inspects for internal damage, verifies quantity, catalog number, unit of measure and description against bills of lading, manifests, invoices, packing lists, purchase orders, or other records. Verifies proper ship to information is on packages and identifies packages needing priority attention and end user signature.
  • Distributes materials daily to recipients and obtains signatures as necessary.
  • Performs data entry to support necessary functions such as receipts, discrepancies and returns. Performs other related clerical duties as required.
  • Completes information on log sheets as necessary.
  • Performs special mail or package pick-ups as assigned.

Shipping Duties (15%)

  • Prepares and processes domestic and international shipments according to established guidelines and procedures. Ships various classes of non-hazardous and hazardous materials including dangerous goods, perishables, live animals and infectious substances. Determines most economical and efficient shipping method, selects appropriate shipping container, packs, labels and documents all shipments to meet all international, federal, state and local regulations to ensure safe delivery in accordance with customer requests. Traces and investigates lost and late shipment claims.
  • Prepares bills of lading; inspects items to be shipped against shipment requisition form to confirm that quantities, destination and routing are correct and that appropriate approvals are indicated. Authorizes Request for Shipment forms for completion including the requirement for a current valid MTA (Material Transfer Agreement) for international and other biological shipments and performs search in the Visual Compliance system for restricted parties per established procedures.
  • Utilizes FedEx, UPS or other common carriers. Contacts companies to track or expedite shipments and return merchandise that does not conform to specifications or purchase orders.
  • Performs data entry such as receipts, discrepancies and returns for supplies and equipment including capital equipment. Records capital equipment information and assigns ID tag numbers.  Monitors status and follow-up communications for receipts, discrepancies and returns until completed.  Includes reviewing reports per procedures.  Performs general receiving duties when shipping duties are completed or as needed.  Performs related clerical duties as required or per procedures.
  • Prepares waste pick-up manifests monthly for supplier signature and documentation.

Mail Duties (15%)

  • Processes incoming and outgoing domestic and international U.S. Postal Service mail for the Institute according to training and established guidelines and procedures. Handles confidential, sensitive and valuable mail.  Stays abreast of and practices safe mail handling related to suspicious mailings received and escalates to a manager as necessary.  Uses company vehicle to pick-up and deliver mail to off-site Institute locations.
  • Prepares certified, insured and bulk mail in accordance with the U.S. Postal Service regulations.
  • Adheres and adapts to processes to stay current with any changes in regulations, rates, and services pertaining to the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Ensures adequate prepaid Salk postage funds are available on the postage meter and informs a manager when a low balance exists.
  • Performs data entry to support necessary functions and related clerical duties as required. Ensures proper log entries and other record keeping of all required mail activities.
  • Handles cash transactions when selling postage to customers. Counts and verifies cash amount at each open of customer hours. Runs postage meter daily cash transaction report and reconciles with cash register sales at each close of customer hours.  Informs a manager immediately of any discrepancies before further posting.
  • Utilizes computerized mailing system to process postage and manage active/inactive fund number database for postage recharges. Responsible for ensuring USPS system software updates are downloaded as required.
  • Handles cash/check sales of movie tickets. Reconciles cash and tickets on a daily basis internally and per a weekly in person audit by Finance.
  • Handles service calls for troubleshooting problems or regular maintenance needs for digital postage mailing system. Immediately informs a manager of equipment problems. Takes initiative to solve problems or call service company as needed.
  • Ensures postal and office supplies are at appropriate stocking levels and informs Logistics Operations Manager of needs. Submits purchase requisitions for mail services supplies, such as priority boxes, envelopes, postal forms or mailing system supplies such as ink, sealing solution and postage tape.
  • Ensures area is clean and organized and that sorting bins and file folders are properly labeled.
  • Reports damage or theft of mail to a manager immediately.
  • Performs general receiving duties when mail duties are completed or as needed.

Other Duties (5%)

  • Provides prompt, courteous and efficient customer service. Maintains a friendly and cooperative demeanor in dealing with others.  Addresses inquiries, pro-actively offers assistance, resolves problems, contacts lab/department and Procurement staff to resolve issues.  Adheres to professional etiquette standards in all verbal and written communications.  Adheres to dress code standards. 
  • Accomplishes work in a manner that promotes safety and immediately reports any and all injury accidents to a manager. Operates Institute vehicles in a safe and efficient manner, inspects for damage before and after each use and reports damage or accidents immediately according to Institute procedures.
  • Maintains clean, organized, safe, and efficient work, kitchen and break areas.
  • Pro-actively assists in other Logistics Operations functional areas when time allows and provides backup during absences, peak volume times, and upon request.
  • Assists in training coworkers on technical skills or functional area procedures when necessary.
  • Informs manager immediately of events or conditions that could potentially affect the ability to perform services in any functional area.
  • Informs manager of any shipping, receiving, mail services procedures or related delivery routes that need to be updated in procedure manuals. Updates the procedure documentation when requested.
  • Maintains efficient electronic and manual filing systems. Composes routine correspondence in a professional manner. Respects and maintains confidentiality of work-related activities.
  • Operates dock plate, dolly, pallet jack, forklift and or other material handling tools to load and unload supplies and equipment; operates strapping equipment to package products.
  • Operates a digital postage mailing system, cash register, shredder, scanner and multi-function copier/scanner/fax machine depending on assigned area of coverage.
  • As assigned, processes compressed gas receipts, deliveries, discrepancies and returns. Supports the department by providing input on any changes or updates to the compressed gases and liquid nitrogen online floor plan maps with location information.  Prints the updated location maps for Logistics and Procurement and maintains them in a notebook.  Performs scheduled physical audits of all compressed gases as requested.
  • Assists with the investigation of missing item claims; assembles and moves furniture or equipment; maintains department equipment and vehicles as requested.
  • Stocks supply center kiosk inventory, verifies deliveries against orders and handles related communications as assigned and per procedures.
  • Avoids and reports any situation that may result in a conflict of interest, or the appearance of one, per Institute and departmental policies.
  • Performs work in a professional and ethical manner per Institute and departmental policies.
  • Other duties as assigned.



  •  Minimum 2 years of shipping, receiving, mail services or similar logistics operations or facilities operations experience.
  • Prior experience utilizing basic office equipment including computers, printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines,
  • Experience preparing shipments with appropriate packaging and labeling by hand or via system applications for UPS, FedEx, and other common carriers.
  • Experience performing accurate data entry and utilizing eProcurement or ERP software.
  • Experience using material handling equipment such as pallet jacks, dollies and forklifts.


  • Experience with referencing and understanding OSHA Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly referred to as MSDS.
  • Experience preparing hazardous shipments with appropriate packaging and labeling by hand or via system applications for UPS, FedEx, and other common carriers.
  • Experience processing mail in accordance with U.S. Postal Service regulations.
  • Experience using Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel software programs.



  • High school diploma or equivalent combination of education and/or experience.


  • Forklift training and certification.
  • IATA training and certification.



  • Demonstrated basic computer skills including word processing, ERP and other applicable software programs including Microsoft Outlook.
  • Accurate typing/word processing skills and knowledge of proper formats, grammar, and spelling to compose and edit correspondence and reports.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to interact constructively and effectively with a diverse group of people to include faculty, staff, postdocs, students, administration, and the public while using sound judgment. Must be approachable, courteous and solution oriented. Able to follow standard methods of greeting clients and suppliers; answering phones and providing information.
  • Ability to prioritize daily activities to complete tasks in a timely manner as assigned by others or as guided by standard practices.
  • Must be able to work in a high-volume environment, under strict time constraints and effectively meet inflexible deadlines and cut-off times.
  • Ability to apply job skills and learn Institute policies and procedures to perform a variety of routine tasks.
  • Good organizational skills and strong attention to detail.
  • Working knowledge of methods and procedures used in shipping/receiving functions and in-house mail services or similar operational functions.
  • Ability to use calculator or make accurate calculations mentally to exchange currency for mail service customers. Some knowledge of basic math skills such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Skill in converting units of measure.
  • Demonstrated awareness of proper safety procedures. Ability to safely use equipment including dollies, hand trucks, manual and electric pallet lifts and maneuver in difficult or sensitive areas within laboratories and administrative departments.
  • Ability and willingness to work in dusty and dirty conditions and to handle and store dangerous and hazardous materials.
  • Ability and willingness to keep all work and break areas clean and maintained to ensure a safe working environment.
  • Skill in verification of receipt information to purchase orders, packing slips and related documentation. Working knowledge in identifying discrepancies and handling returns.
  • Ability and willingness to adapt to change, become trained on how to use new equipment, including power and/or hand tools, adhere to new policies, follow new procedures and work in a fast-paced environment.


  •  Knowledge of common carriers' shipping software or web-based applications (FedEx, UPS, etc.).
  • Knowledge of common shipping providers, documentation requirements, package weighing techniques, labeling requirements and placement, shipment preparation, shipment delivery verification and tracking.
  • Demonstrated computer skills including word processing, using Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Knowledge of United States Postal Service, Department of Transportation and International Air Transportation Association rules and regulations.
  • Proficient use of postal mailing system equipment.


  •  Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation including driver DMV report. Must have motor vehicle license Class C and a clean driving record for operation of Institute vehicle for deliveries.
  • Must be flexible to work overtime or alternate hours as needed. Regular work schedule: Monday - Friday 7:30a.m.-4:00p.m. or 8:00a.m.-4:30p.m.
  • Must be willing to submit to a post-offer physical.
  • Execution of Salk's Employee Confidentiality Agreement and Procurement Addendum is required.
  • Must be able to operate electric and manual pallet lift. Forklift operator certification required. Must obtain forklift operator training within twelve months of hire date.
  • IATA dangerous goods certification may be required.
  • Position handles perishable items in dry ice packages and potentially corrosive, infectious, poisonous, flammable or toxic items. Incumbent may be exposed to laboratory hazards and live animals.
  • Annual conflict of interest disclosure is required.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, carrying 0-20 lbs., grasping, handling, hearing, lifting 0-20 lbs., seeing, and touching/feeling. 


Application Details

Apply Here:


 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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