Pallet Truck (A Thorough Usage, Safety And Buying Guide)
Pallet Truck also referred to as pallet jacks or pump jacks, these types of machines have been in use since the 1920s. Their widespread use across specialty and retail stores, warehouses, factories, and manufacturing plants is evidence about their efficiency and utility.
You can use a pump jack to move any small or heavy weight items from one place to another without putting much labour. The versatility of this heavy material moving equipment also allows you to pile up any goods on one another with ease. Generally, you get them in two different forms – manual and powered or electric.
Manual pallet jacks
These hand-operated pump jacks are quite basic. Once the goods have been transferred on it, the pallet can be lifted and moved to its designated place. For that, the operator needs to pump its handle or use hydraulic forks.
Since they are suitable for accomplishing simple tasks, such as lifting comparatively smaller stacks at the ground level, you can get them for a lower price.
However, handling this equipment requires special skills from the operator. In the logistics industry, people buy this item because of its durability and low-cost maintenance.
Electric or powered pallet jacks
These are fully automated machines with larger dimensions. You can ride it from pick-up point to the location of delivery with ease. Since these models can lift, move down and move around, you can use it for even long distances without the need for halting much.
It can also significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on your work. Also, since you can operate it effortlessly, the chances of physical strain or injury are also quite less.
Nowadays, these variants are in huge demand across different sectors, and that’s why choosing one that fits all your needs has become easy.
How to buy a pallet jack?
Choosing a pallet truck requires a lot of consideration and close attention. Every facility may have its own needs. Based on that, you have to assess your selection.
For example, if your factory or warehouse is spread over a more extensive space, then electric models would perhaps work better.
For smaller areas, manual editions are excellent as they don’t need much space to move around. The powered pump jacks would be challenging to steer, stop, and move in a narrow space.
Besides, there are some more points that you need to take into account, such as fork length, weight capacity, the weight of the unit, its height, etc. Let’s see how you can determine your choice based on these factors.
- Fork size: While small forks may not be able to carry much load, the excessively long ones may pose a challenge when it comes to manoeuvring them.
- Bigger forks would need more space for turning, and smaller ones would not fit into a pallet properly, as a result of which, the risk of goods falling from it may increase and eventually, impact the safety of the workers and the facility.
- Weight capacity: Another necessary element is the load or weight capacity of the equipment. Every pallet jack comes with a weight limit; if the requirement is for lifting a higher weight, then you have to select a size that can carry it. Avoid the idea of overloading as it can be harmful to both the equipment and its operator.
- Height of the jack: Looking at the jack’s height is essential. If you have to lift pallets to a certain height, then you need to make sure that the jack can be raised to that point without difficulty.
- You also need to make sure that not only does it reach the designated level but also safely carry a load to that point. At the time of using it, you also need to keep in mind its capacity of taking the weight and the height to which it has been elevated. A combination of overloading and height can be a potential safety hazard.
- Wheels: You need to be careful about the wheels. They not only help in carrying loads from one point to another but also in smooth manoeuvring. Also, the right quality wheels will not damage your flooring as much as the weak ones.
Apart from the points mentioned above, you also need to consider the overall unit weight before buying one. These are heavy weight equipment designed to carry loads.
So, it’s apparent that they will be significantly weighty. Without taking its weight into your consideration, if you operate it on container floors or vehicle trays, you may risk it for tipping over or causing damage to the surface.
So, when you go to buy a pallet jack or pump truck or jigger, make sure you evaluate your choice from every angle. It will not only save your investment but also the lives of the workers and other individuals who are near it.
Safety tips for pump truck operation
Since one has to be careful with any material handling equipment to a great extent to avoid risks and dangers of accidents, your duty does not end with the buying decision.
You need to create safe settings for everyone present in your facility where it is being used. For that, it’s critical to take some precautions from the beginning itself.
Store in a secure area:
One of the essential things that you can ensure for safety is its storage. Keep this equipment in a monitored area from where it is also out of the reach of customers. If you don’t have a place where you can leave it, then make sure at least one person is there to keep an eye on it.
Inspect the equipment before use:
Like any other machinery, you need to examine your trolley jacks thoroughly. See its operating functions, warning devices, moving parts, wheels, forks, and others. Check if there is a fluid leak in the equipment. The moment you detect any defect with the machine, report it as out-of-service.
Train the operators:
Heavy equipment like this needs a well-trained operator to handle it. Right from how to use it safely to its inspection and operational safety measures, the worker should have awareness about every aspect.
He should know how to load and unload it safely, how to avoid any damage to the jack or the surface, and also how to prevent personal injuries. He should know to balance the pallet and the load on it, and for that, he should possess a sound knowledge of how to use its every part most efficiently.
Use a planned route:
Use your equipment on the scheduled path to avoid the risk of accidents with people or structure. There should not be any obstacles or too many intersections and blind corners in the travel path. The surface has to be non-slippery.
Keep the level of incline as low as possible. When riding it, the operator should have a clear view of the path ahead of him so that he can ensure the safety of the equipment as well as other people around.
These heavy-duty general purpose trucks are designed to ease the pressure of heavy work that is required at a commercial setting by increasing its application. And with the entry of powered variants, these machines have become even more useful in the facilities.