Manual pallet jacks are used in many places because they help workers move and handle heavy loads. Although manual pallet jacks are not as dangerous as forklifts, they can still cause serious injuries and property damage when operated incorrectly.
There are many ways a person can be seriously injured when using a pallet jack.
- Loads can topple from tight turns, excessive speed, uneven floors and or inclines, causing contusions, abrasions, strains, and sprains.
- Injuries and property damage occur when the load or pallet jack runs into walls, door jams, columns, shelves or run into other employees.
- Injuries can occur when workers trip over the exposed pallet jack forks.
- Back strain or shoulder strains from adjusting heavy loads or pulling the pallet jack.
- A common but serious injury can occur when the pallet jack runs over and crushes the feet of the operator or anyone nearby.
How can you prevent on the job injuries from operating pallet jacks? Here are just a few suggestions.
- Establish and post clear safety rules.
- Know your equipment. Never operate a pallet jack without being fully trained in safe operating procedures.
- Never exceed the load capacity of the pallet jack.
- Consider using a jack that has a brake and or back-rest especially when moving loads on an incline.
- Wear proper foot and hand protection. Keep your back strong and straight.
- Use proper lifting procedures when loading, operating and unloading the pallet jack.
- Inspect your pallet jacks regularly to make sure they are in good operating condition.
- Never place feet, hands or any body part underneath a pallet or pallet jack.
- Use a toe guard to reduce injuries to feet from pallet jacks rolling over the operator’s foot.
- No horseplay! Do not ride the equipment or carry riders on your manual pallet jack.
- Push, don’t pull! Pulling puts more strain on the back, shoulders, arms, and legs. The exception is when making small adjustments in the positioning of the load.
- Use a pallet jack stop to prevent the jack from rolling out of control especially on an incline.
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