Electric Pallet Jack – How to Operate Safely – Part 115 October 2015
Electric pallet jacks, often called pallet trucks, are designed for lifting and moving material loads over relatively short distances in a number of material handling applications on loading docks, distribution centers and in warehouses. This guide will discuss how to operate an electric-powered pallet jacks safely so operators can avoid property damage and injury to themselves while ensuring a successful delivery of their loads.
Pre-operational Inspection: What to Look for Prior to Using
Prior to operation, look around the surrounding area and ensure there is not any debris that will prevent safe use of pallet jack.
- Check to see if there are any leaking fluids.
- Check for any cracks or other damaged parts.
- Keep a special focus on the wheels, tires and forks.
It’s important to ensure that all the safety devices are attached and in full working order. This also includes making sure that all warning labels and data plates are in place and can be read clearly.
Make certain that all the operating controls are tested.
- Check the forks by raising and lowering them.
- Check that the horn is fully operational.
- Check the braking system
- Check the forward and reverse controls
- Check the emergency reverse control
IMPORTANT: The unit should not be used if your inspection reveals any issues to prevent you from using it safely. Tag it as out of order and inform your supervisor of the issues found.
Safe Operation: Lifting
Lifting Loads Safely
Make sure that the load is within the pallet trucks capacity. If you’re not sure, ask.
Prior to transporting the load, two important points need to be understood. The load needs to be stable and centered on the pallet before transporting. If it’s not, it may fall during travel causing injury or damage. If the load is unstable or off-centered, it will have to be reconfigured and potentially secured before moving.
Before lifting, ensure both forks are fully under the pallet and that the load is against the back. This will prevent possible pallet damage and spilling of the load.
IMPORTANT: Pay close attention and use caution when setting the forks and lifting the load to prevent pallet damage.
See Part 2 of this article to learn about Transporting and Placing Loads, Proper Travel on Slopes, and Precautions while working on loading docks.