How To Safely Use A Pallet Truck
It may seem as though using a hand pallet truck is a fairly self-explanatory kind of thing – and for the most part you would be right. The actual mechanics behind using such a tool are simple to work out, with or without training. That’s part of the beauty of this kind of truck. But using a pallet truck and using a pallet truck safely can sometimes be two entirely different thing, and that can lead to problems including injury and damage to goods.
So how are users supposed to safely use a pallet truck in the work place? It’s essential that everyone knows.
Truly safe handling of a hand pallet truck does require practice, patience, and some skill. Although it is perfectly possible for someone to leap in and start working with one, it is not advisable until all the important training has been carried out. For example, were you aware that the only time the handle of the pallet should be facing downwards is when you are jacking the pallet?
In order to move a hand pallet truck safely, it is important to avoid ramps (up or down) when the truck is loaded. It is so easy to lose control of a heavy load on a ramp, and if a pallet truck rolls away it can cause huge amounts of damage. The forks must always be centred as evenly as possible beneath the load as maintaining a good balance at this point will make it much easier to safely move the truck around. Any slight issues with the balance, and the load could topple with only the slightest nudge or bump. And we all know that warehouse floors are not as smooth as silk… Speaking of the forks, always use both of them. Even if it looks as though using one would work well, even if it looks as though using one would be absolutely fine and make life easier for you, don’t do it. You’ll create an unbalanced truck.
As well as keeping everything balanced, the truck shouldn’t be overloaded. Putting too much weight on a truck that isn’t designed for it will potentially break the truck, and that means problems – the load will fall and could injure someone (at the very least, the load could be damaged), and the truck itself could collapse onto someone’s foot. With regards to feet, pallet trucks are notorious for tripping people up – or rather, people trip over them a lot. The main problem is the handle; make sure this is left in the up position.
When moving the pallet truck, you should ideally pull the load rather than push it. This gives you the ability to move the truck much more easily, and it gives you more control. Another way of maintaining control of a truck like this is to control the speed. There are no brakes on these trucks, so it is down to the operator to ensure that they keep their speed safe. Pulling the load instead of pushing will certainly help with this.
When all the work is done and it’s time to park the truck, it needs to be kept somewhere out of the way on a level floor, and the forks should be lowered.
Finally, never, ever, let anyone ride on the truck. The result could be nasty.