Manual Pallet Jack Safety Robert A. Wachter UC Davis EH&S Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Electric Pallet Jacks • Electric Pallet jacks are: – Motorized to allow lifting and moving of heavier and stacked pallets; Motorized pallet truck video – Self propelled and minimizes the amount of physical operator effort; reduces the risk of injury. – Capacity of 2,800 lbs – 5,000 lbs for electric models – Two categories: Walk behind and jacks equipped with an operator platform Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Hand pallet jacks • This training information is focused on manual, hydraulic pallet jack safety which is a: – A jack steered by a tiller lever, which is also a pump handle for raising the jack – Small handle on the tiller releases the hydraulic fluid, causing the forks to lower – Front wheels are mounted on levers attached to linkages going to levers attached to the jack cylinder. Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety: Hazards • Pallet jacks aren’t as dangerous as forklifts • They can still cause serious injuries and damage materials and structures • Pallet jacks help workers safely handle heavy loads • Trying to move heavy material without a pallet jack could result in even more serious injuries • If a pallet jack is not used safely, employees can be injured – Loads can topple from uneven floors, inclines, excessive speed – Striking against door frames, columns, walls and other stationary objects – Trips from exposed pallet jack “forks” – Running over their feet Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety: Injuries • Loads tipping/falling on employees resulting in contusions, abrasions, strains and sprains • Back strain from adjusting loads • Injuries from running into other employees • Bodily harm from impacts or from losing control on inclines • Abrasions, contusions or fractures from impacting walls or columns • Load dropped on foot or foot crushed when the pallet jack runs over feet • Strain or dislocation of shoulder due to forceful pulling of a pallet jack • Strains from moving a loaded pallet jack. Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Injury Prevention • Two factors to prevent injuries: – Clear safety rules – Hands-on training. • Pallet jacks seem like simple devices and do not appear to require training • Imperative: Read and follow the safety rules in the manual • Never operate a pallet jack unless you have been trained • Before moving loads, first demonstrate safe operating procedures with an electric or manual pallet jack Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Safe Operation Your responsibility as the pallet jack operator: • Use in the correct manner to ensure your safety and the safety of the people in the vicinity • Familiarize yourself with the controls before using the pallet jack • Ensure controls are undamaged and responsive • Plan your journey before jumping straight into using the pallet jack • Never carry riders or ride the equipment yourself • No horseplay, it can cause serious injuries! Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules PPE and body positioning • Wear proper foot protection and gloves. • Make sure you have a secure grip on the load, especially pallet jacks with worn grips • Never place your feet under a pallet jack • Feet, hands or any body part should never be placed underneath a pallet • Use proper lifting techniques loading/unloading and operating the pallet jack • Be wary of pinch points to avoid injuries to your hand Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Forks • Forks: – Center the forks evenly under the load to maintain good balance and ensure stability of the load. – Make sure the forks are positioned completely under the pallet. – Maintain a clearance of about 1 inch between the floor and the pallet. – The load is more stable if it is kept close to the floor. Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Push or Pull • Push or Pull? Pulling allows better maneuverability but pulling puts strain on the back, always try to push the load instead if you can • Pushing the load: • Keeps the back and spine straight • Uses the stronger and larger leg muscles and bones • Pulling the load: • Employees pulling pallet jacks are using their backs more than their legs to move the load • Bending forward creating a curvature in their spine making them more susceptible to back injuries • The jack is not designed to be pulled by one or both arms • Exception: Making small adjustments in the positioning of the load, while standing erect Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Inclines/pathways • Difficult to use on slopes, particularly when the load is heavy • Designed for smooth surfaces, difficult to maneuver on uneven surfaces or in areas with debris • Avoid inclines but always be uphill of the load on an incline • If you absolutely must use an incline be extra cautious • Always push when going down an incline and never stand downhill of a loaded pallet jack going down a ramp Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Parking •Park the pallet jack in a level place, forks lowered • Don’t block exits or emergency equipment, i.e. fire extinguishers • Do not leave a pallet jack unattended and elevated • Put pallet jacks safely away in a predetermined storage location when not in use with the handle raised and locked • Keep the jack out of a traffic area, avoid a tripping hazard • Always let pallet jack down when stocking product or anytime the pallet jack is left unattended Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Handling Loads • Pay attention and never exceed the manufacturer’s maximum load rated capacity, never overload • The capacity will be clearly marked on the pallet jack • Keep your back strong and straight • Keep the load under control • Start and stop gradually, prevent the load shifting position • Stop moving your load if someone is in the pathway—don’t assume the person sees and can avoid you. • Use established traffic lanes and exercise caution to avoid collisions at corners • Swing wide on corners to avoid striking the door frames, racking, or other structures, use a spotter if needed Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Pallets • Store pallets in a dry place • Inspect the pallet for loose or rotting sections – Make sure the pallet is in good condition and can safely support the load • Ensure no leakage from the previous or current load has weakened the structure of the pallet • Stabilize the load on the pallet • Interlocked stacking, plastic wrap, or straps Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety Rules Inspections Make a quick inspection • Inspect pallet jack in general for good working condition • Check brakes, steering, controls, forks, hoists and warning devices • Look for water, oil, or other liquids on the floor • Observe the wheels; ensure they are not worn out and have no cracks • This will prevent poor handling and reduce the risk of an unstable load • Report any problems to your supervisor Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety: Fork Operation • • • • Use both forks for lifting a load Never use one fork to lift a load Ensure the stability of the load Maintain good balance, center the forks evenly under the load • Maintain a clearance of about 1 inch between the floor and the pallet • The load is more stable if it is kept close to the floor. Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety: Actuating lever • Safe handling requires skill • Raise the forks by pushing the actuating lever down and pumping the handle • Use both hands when jacking up a manual pallet jack to prevent muscle strain • The only time the handle is down is to jack the pallet • Put the actuating lever in a neutral or middle position to move the load. – This position disengages the lifting mechanism and frees the handle from hydraulic resistance, but keeps the forks raised • When the lever is released, it will automatically return to the neutral position Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety: Safe Maneuvering • Use the neutral position when moving loads, this reduces operator fatigue • Push if you safely can, but pulling allows for increased maneuverability and better control of the load • If pulling the pallet jack, make sure it is in the neutral position to reduce fatigue • Do not turn the handle too fast, can cause the load to shift. • Watch for clearances on both sides of the aisle • Operate at controllable speeds, hand pallet trucks do not have brakes, allow plenty of room to stop • Do not carry riders on the hand pallet truck • Be aware of other people and forklifts in the vicinity Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Pallet Jack Safety: Loading docks • Always be alert on loading docks. Stay away from the edge of the dock. • If you are loading or unloading a truck at a dock, enter or exit the truck squarely • Park the pallet truck out of traffic areas in a safe, level place with the forks lowered. • The handle should be left in the up position to eliminate tripping hazards. Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Short Quiz Safe Use of Hand Pallet Trucks Name____________________________________ True or False? 1. Push the load. T or F 2. Enter or exit a truck at an angle. T or F 3. Pallet trucks do not have brakes. T or F 4. Keep the forks 1-2 inches above the ground. T or F 5. Keep yourself uphill when going up or down any incline. T or F Think safe. Act safe. Be safe. Answers 1. F 2. F 3. T 4. F 5. T Think safe. Act safe. Be safe.