Safe Use of Pallet Truck & Pallet Stacker Training Resource

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Safety Guidelines

As two of the most universal pieces of equipment in any UK workplace, it is no surprise that many of the injuries and accidents that occur at work result from mishandled or faulty pallet trucks and pallet stackers. Though easy to operate and require no specialist training, accidents still occur as a result of external circumstances and complacency regarding safety regulations. Follow these simple and effective guidelines to reduce risks.

Pre-operational Checks

  • Visually inspect the truck / stacker for damage or cracks.
  • Raise and lower the forks to check the controls are working.
  • Operate the handle / controls to ensure in working order.
  • If applicable look for any sign of hydraulic oil leaking.
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How to Operate a Pallet Truck Safely

  • Maximum load limits are there for a reason; pallet trucks usually have a maximum capacity of between 2500kg – 5000kg.
  • Overloading a pallet truck can cause it to overbalance or malfunction, creating problems not only for the operator using the truck but also to any surrounding staff members.
  • Before entering the pallet check the load is securely stacked and the pallet is not damaged. Carefully guide the forks into the gaps of the pallet by firmly gripping the handle with two hands and in the up-right position push steadily forwards.

  • Raise the forks ensuring there is enough space between you and the handle, once the pallet is clear of the floor, return the lever to the neutral position.
  • Ensure there is enough clearance when raising the forks; be aware of any overhead obstructions and any width restrictions.

  • Push the handle down, turn and face the direction you will be travelling, the direction you are turning will determine which hand to hold the truck with. When turning left use your left hand, when turning right use your right hand and grip the handle firmly.
  • Pull, rather than push loads along flat surfaces for increased manoeuvrability. Pulling the load allows the operator to travel ahead of the truck, checking for hazards and other people. Walk to one side of the truck, always travel at a safe speed and wherever possible travel on the left-hand side.
  • Always walk. Never run, make sharp turns or stand directly in front of the pallet truck when travelling. Never stand on the inside of a turn.
  • Travel slowly when going up or down slopes.
  • When carrying a load always ensure the forks face uphill when travelling up or down slopes.
  • Without a load always ensure the forks face downhill when travelling up or down slopes.
  • Once at your destination, manoeuvre the load into position, ensure you are clear of the load before lowering by slowly pulling on the lever, and lowering the load under control.
  • Many pallet trucks are fitted with brakes for added security, but for those that are still stopped manually, ensure plenty of stopping room when slowing down, and be aware of other people in the area. Heavy loads can create a lot of momentum when slowing down without brakes, so it is vital to ensure that the truck is slowed down sufficiently to come to a controlled halt.
  • When fully lowered release the lever into the neutral position. Check all around if it is clear to stand to one side and pull the hand pallet truck clear of the pallet.
  • When storing a pallet truck, ensure that the handle is left in the ‘up’ position to eliminate any trips or falls, and lower the forks so that they are not sticking out at an awkward angle. If a designated storage area is not available, ensure that the forks are not pointing out into any walkways.

How to Operate a Pallet Stacker Safely

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