Pallet Jack Safety

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Pallet Jacks are one of the commonly utilized pieces of equipment in shipping and warehousing operations. Some are motorized but many are manual. There are two risks associated with utilizing a pallet jack, your feet and your back.

In British Columbia a young worker at a warehouse was using a manual pallet jack to move a load down a loading ramp with a 9 percent slope. The worker was walking the pallet jack backwards, guiding it down by its steering handle. The 1,000-pound load was within the limits for the pallet jack, but the pallet jack sped up on the slope. The pallet jack's rear wheel assembly struck the worker's foot. His ankle was fractured.

Most pallet jacks truly aren't meant to be utilized on ramps and certainly not with the load behind you. However, there is danger of running over your feet even on flat surfaces. Most manual pallet jacks have their back wheels exposed and if you don't watch your feet position or are unable to stop a heavy load, your feet become the target.

Pulling heavy loads with a pallet jack can also cause back injuries as you try to start the load moving. Ensure you are square to the load and utilize both hands to pull the load utilizing the pallet jack handle. If it requires a lot of force then more often then not, stop and look under the wheels, there is probably a piece of a pallet or a nail or other object under the wheels. Your back is worth far more than a piece of wood.


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