How To Use A Pallet Truck Safely

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The Pallet Truck is one of the most common pieces of equipment in UK warehouses and industrial settings. They can quite often be the cause of many injuries and accidents in the workplace if the operator has not had any guidance.

Pallet trucks are actually quite simple to operate and only require basic training. Accidents can still occur as a result of other mitigating factors – complacency of safety regulations is a large factor. To guarantee the safe use of pallet trucks in the workplace follow these simple suggestions:

Check the truck is in order

Always inspect the pallet truck prior to use; look for any severe wear and tear and check that the hydraulics used to raise and lower the forks are in good working order. It is sometimes a good idea to get a second pair of eyes to look over the truck, in case you have missed anything.

Follow the load limit

Most pallet trucks have a load limit (and should have this clearly marked on the side) for a reason. This maximum capacity, ranging anywhere up to and around 2500kg, shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you were to overload a pallet truck, it can overbalance and tip over, causing damage to surrounding equipment – or even harming another staff member. How to avoid this? Use a weighing scale or weigh beams, and ensure trucks aren’t overloaded.

Avoid ramps

Pallet truck operators usually avoid moving heavy loads up or down inclines – this is to keep the truck (and the load) safely balanced at all times. If you find it is impossible to avoid a ramp in your workplace, keep the load ahead of the operator when navigating uphill so that the load is balanced. Remember to keep the forks about 4 – 6 inches above the ground so that they don’t catch when going on or coming off the ramp.

Use your brakes

Some modern pallet trucks are fitted with brakes to ensure safe stopping. Others, however, still have to be stopped manually. If this is the case, make sure that you have plenty of stopping distance when slowing down, and take care to choose a stopping area away from any pedestrians. Pallet trucks carry momentum when holding loads, so take into account that slowing may take a while and some distance!

Pull, not push

A common misconception is that pallet trucks need to be pushed. In fact, it’s always best to pull loads across a flat surface to create increased manoeuvrability for the operator. There are other benefits – this allows for the operator to check for hazards up ahead, such as pedestrians. Pushing from behind the load can become tiring – and the operator cannot look past the load for potential hazards such as objects on the ground, and obstacles that the forks could catch on.

Store safely

Once you have removed the load from the pallet truck, ensure that the forks are lowered and are not pointing outward at an angle, causing them to become a hazard. Always store the truck in the designated storage area – if this is not possible, make sure that the pallet truck is as close to a wall as is possible, and that the forks are not pointing out into any hallways or walkways.

Now that you know how to use a pallet truck safely, you can browse our range of pallet trucks, sack trucks and other heavy lifting equipment to find a product which suits your requirements.

Victoria Vaughan