Electric Pallet Jack – A Guide For Operational Safely15 October 2015
The electric pallet jack, 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 Electric Pallet Jack
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.
Transporting and Placing Loads
- Do know where you’re going?
- Examine the route and make sure it’s clear of any obstructions or hazards that may impede or make the transport unsafe.
- Don’t adjust the fork height while in motion
- Do bring the load off of the ground a few feet before moving and going to the drop spot.
- Make sure you come to a complete stop before lowering the pallet and dropping the load.
Walking with a Pallet Truck
- To allow for better visibility which lowers the possibility of an accidental collision, operate the pallet jack so that you’re walking ahead and just to the side.
- If walking behind the unit is the only feasible way, ensure you use caution and have both of your hands on the controls.
- No matter the orientation of operation, in front or behind, use a normal walking speed when moving loads.
- Remain attentive and watchful for other vehicles and people.
- Keep in mind that the forks stick out beyond the pallet so exercise added caution when approaching objects ahead of you.
Pallet Truck Parking
- Always lower your forks to the ground when parking.
- To prevent unauthorized use, if you have to leave the unit and it’s going to be out of site, disconnect the battery or, if it has one, remove the key.
- When parking, be certain to keep it from blocking any exits, aisles or emergency equipment.
Proper Travel on Slopes
- To prevent the load from tipping or falling, always moving straight up and down the incline and never on an angle.
- Make certain that the pallet truck and load is as stable as possible by always keeping your load uphill when moving up and down a slope.
- While on a slope, never stand in front of the walkie truck. Stay to the side of the unit.
Precautions while Working on Loading Docks (A Checklist)
- Is caution being used at all time?
- Are the trailer’s brakes engaged and the wheels chocked?
- Are the dock boards and bridge plates of sufficient capacity, in good condition and secure to the dock and trailer?
- Is a jack stand being used if the cab isn’t supporting the trailer?
- Has the trailer floor been inspect for and free of rotting, holes, cracks or other hazards that may make the shipment integrity at risk?