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Proper Usage of Pallet Jacks Decreases Injury

by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

pallet jacksA manual pallet jack allows us to move material quickly from one point to another. Despite the time saved, improper usage of pallet jacks is one of the leading causes of injury in the industry. Common injuries include back, shoulder, and arm strain. When using a pallet jack, remember these key points to avoid injury.

Inspect the equipment and path of travel

Inspect the pallet jack before using to ensure that it is defect free. Report any issues discovered to your supervisor or dispatcher before use. Check to ensure the path is clear: cracks or spaces in the floor can cause wheels to get stuck. Avoid travelling along any slopes or wet floors; if necessary use an alternate route.

Limit the capacity

Take a moment to determine the weight of the load that needs to be moved. Overloading a pallet can cause strain to your body that could result in an overexertion injury. Take the appropriate measures to ensure you are not overloading the pallet and if necessary, reduce the amount of material loaded on a pallet and take multiple trips if necessary.

Push, don’t pull

Pulling a loaded pallets causes strain on shoulders, arms, and back that can lead to an overexertion injury. Push the pallet jack in a slow and steady movement. If travelling downhill, be sure to keep the pallet ahead of you and maintain a slow speed downwards.

Other pallet jack safety rules

  • Use proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading the pallet jack
  • Pay attention and never exceed the manufacturer’s maximum load rated capacity (the capacity should be marked on the pallet jack)
  • Keep your back straight and use your legs when pushing the pallet jack
  • Keep the load under control at safe speeds and slow down when turning
  • Start and stop gradually to prevent the load from shifting position and minimize strain on your body
  • Use both hands when raising a manual pallet jack to prevent muscle strain
  • Pulling allows better maneuverability but strains the back, always try to push the load rather than pulling

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