Talking About Industrial Machinery

Do You Practice Good Safety With Your Warehouse Pallet Jacks? Here's Why You Should

The pallet jack has no real requirements for licensed or trained handling. Many will put a pallet jack into the hands of someone who never used one and send them off to bring back a stack loaded or unloaded pallets. However, your pallet jacks do require some attention and a little training if you want to avoid costly mistakes and hazards with them.

Train People to Inspect the Pallet Jacks Before Use

While use of the pallet jack may seem intuitive, it's still important to teach people a few things about using it safely. It should start with a brief inspection of the pallet jack.

  • Make sure it works, move it a little, raise it, and lower it, apply the brake.
  • Make sure the controls don't stick or stutter when used.
  • Take a quick look at the wheels to see if they're cracked, broken, or obstructed.

It's simple enough, but many people will start the jack and start moving without paying attention to these small things.

Teach People the Common Pallet Jack Hazards

Pallet jacks do come with a few hazards to watch out for.

Capacity – You should never exceed the capacity of a pallet jack. Make the jack's capacity well known. If it's not already located somewhere on the jack itself, put it on there.

No speeding – Users should move the pallet jack slowly and smoothly. There's likely things going on around the pallet jack user. If you're moving too fast, you can run into a person, forklift, racking, or anything else. Users should pay attention for signs of changes around them.

Reverse on inclines – You should always go in reverse when traveling downward, such as on a ramp. Usually, it's best to avoid inclines altogether when possible. When on an incline, do not attempt to turn or maneuver the jack. Keep the load low and stay to the side.

Push, don't pull – You should always push the pallet jack. Pulling isn't good for the back and has less control than practiced pushing.

Teach People to Stay Alert and Attentive

When someone makes use of the pallet jack, they should know their route, their surroundings, and what they can expect on the way. They should not stray or take shortcuts through the warehouse.

If there's a designated lane for pallet jacks, then that's where they should stay. In addition, if they have a load that blocks their field of vision, then they should work with someone else that can help guide them.