Power pallet trucks are the single most important piece of equipment in warehouse operations. The technology for picking up and moving a pallet around has been available for a long time, but only recently has the power been added for ease and comfort. This feature did some wonderful things to prevent injury to the operator due to heavy loads, but at the same time making things more dangerous for fellow workers. How is this possible? The power jack allows the operator to move at a much higher rate of speed than ever before. This added speed has led to operators losing control of the load and running into surrounding objects and people. Just as with any other large piece of equipment to be used in a confined space, safety should be the first consideration before and during use. Over the years many people have been injured and killed due to unsafe practices, if operators follow the basic rules of safe use, lots of accidents will be avoided. In this text, we will cover the best way to use power pallet trucks on the job.
We are going to discuss a number of safe operating rules and practices. This is not intended to substitute for reading the instruction manual that comes with every pallet truck you buy. Firstly one must always wear the proper gear when operating heavy machinery, such as eyewear or helmet depending on the environment. One must always be vigilant and listen out for the Pa system in cases of emergency. In every warehouse, there are loading and unloading ramps. This area is fine for forklift use but not good for pallet truck use. If you can avoid going on a ramp then do so. If you must go up or down a ramp then go as slowly as you can and have spotters present to prevent accidents. When it comes to the movement of pallets, the operator is able to decide whether they want to push or pull the load. Either one is physically possible, but it is advised that whenever possible the load should be pulled rather than pushed since it helps with the steering. The rule of thumb with regard to this is that the longer the trip the more it is advised that you pull. Never pick up a pallet with one fork. The machine was designed to use both forks to balance and lift the load. Using only one of the forks will lead to an unstable and dangerous haul.
Some rules apply to when you are actually hauling a load and others apply to the time just before you use the pallet truck when you are selecting the load. When choosing a particular haul be sure that it meets a few requirements. The first requirement is that your particular model of pallet truck can handle the weight. If you choose a load that is too heavy the equipment will likely fail and break. The second is that the load is already balanced while on the ground. If the load is unstable on its racking, then it will not be stable enough to stay up on the pallet truck. If you use power pallet trucks safely you will find that your warehouse operation will runner faster and smoother and with fewer accidents.