Pallet Jack Safety – Guide to Operating a Pallet Jack Safely
If you don’t need a licence to operate a pallet jack, why should I bother then?
Many employers ask untrained and unsupervised employees to operate pallet jacks which initially are not seen as a hazard, but still have the capability to cause damage to employees and bystanders.
Pallet jacks are used to make easy work out of what would usually be a multiple person job lifting a load from point A to B eliminating the strain and energy whilst also saving time. When operating a pallet jack (even for a short time span) you should ensure you are wearing the correct safety equipment including steel capped boots, gloves and safety eyewear (when transporting dangerous chemicals).
There are also a number of safety precautions you need to keep in mind when operating a pallet jack which include:
- Never placing your feet under a machine
- Never exceed the advised capacity
- Using proper lifting techniques when loading/unloading and operating the pallet jack
- Move the load slowly to ensure safety in case your surroundings change
- You should always push the load (never pull the load)
- When going down on an incline go in reverse
- Be wary of pinch points to avoid injuries to your hands
Plan for safety
When operating a pallet jack it is your responsibility as the operator to ensure:
- The pallet jack is in good condition before use
- You use it in the correct manner to ensure your safety and the safety of the people around you
Making a quick inspection and planning your journey before jumping straight into using the pallet jack could save you a lot of hassle in the future.
Inspection Prior To Use
- Inspect the pallet jack in general to ensure it is in good working condition
- Familiarize yourself with the controls before using the pallet jack and ensure they are undamaged and responsive
- Observe the wheels to ensure they are not worn out and no cracks are present. This will prevent poor handling and reduces the risk of the load becoming unstable mid journey.
Plan Your Journey
- Check the route you are taking is clear and free from hazards and uneven surface before you begin to move your load
- If you are carrying a large load that obstructs your view, ask a co-worker to guide you
- Stick to correct sides of the warehouse
- Store pallets in a dry place
- Inspect the pallet for loose or rotting sections
- Ensure no leakage from the previous or current load has weakened the structure of the pallet
Although there is no licence test to operate these types of machinery, it is still essential for you to know how to operate the pallet jack safely, and to be aware of what precautions you need to take to ensure no damage or injurie occur in your workplace.