Electric Pallet Truck Safety Measures
For those of you searching for electric pallet truck safety measures, you have certainly come to the right place. Here at Trucks Direct, we recognise just how useful and versatile electric pallet trucks are, but we also recognise the importance of operating them safely. As such, we have detailed the top safety measures to bear in mind when working with these revolutionary pieces of machinery.
Firstly, an electric pallet truck, commonly referred to as an electric pallet jack, is used in a wide array of industrial, warehouse, and transportation applications across the UK. Many pallet truck operators are familiar with the controls and requirements needed to move large loads with their pallet trucks yet unfortunately, despite their expertise, accidents still occur.
Almost all electric pallet truck safety mishaps are preventable. However, it is documented that 1,500 injuries are caused by forklifts and other industrial vehicles every year – which includes pallet trucks (you can find a more detailed workplace accident data record on the HSE website). Although the contributing reasons for pallet jack accidents vary, the main cause typically boils down to human error. With this in mind, to guarantee the safe use of pallet trucks in the workplace, we advise the following plans of action:
The first and possibly most important action you can take before even utilising an electric pallet jack is to inspect the machine prior to use. You should be looking for any severe signs of visual wear and tear and should be checking that the hydraulics used to raise and lower the forks are in working order. Any signs that the machine is damaged should indicate that the truck is not fit for usage and should be reported immediately.
Adhere to The Load Limit
All electric pallet jacks have a load limit clearly marked on the side of the machine. This maximum capacity, if it were to be disregarded, can overbalance the machine and could cause a tip over. As such, always ensure that the truck isn’t overloaded and ask your colleagues to provide information on how heavy the load is before you transport it from point A to point B.
When discussing electric pallet truck safety measures, it is advised that you avoid moving heavy loads up or down inclines. This is because, especially if navigating down an incline, gravity can cause a drastic increase in the speed of a pallet. As a consequence of this, it can be too heavy to control and could cause serious injury to yourself and others in the surrounding vicinity. As a solution, always plan your route and try to avoid ramps at all costs
Use Your Breaks
Most modern electric pallet trucks are fitted with brakes to ensure safe stopping therefore, it is advised that you inspect them thoroughly and use them frequently. You should also make sure that you have plenty of stopping distance when slowing down, as the load will increase the speed at which the pallet truck will move, so choosing a stopping area that is away from any pedestrians is key to reducing workplace accidents.
Pull, Don’t Push
While many people/operators assume that pushing is an effective method to move a pallet, it is in actual fact better to pull loads across a flat surface for the sole reason that it creates increased manoeuvrability for the operator. In addition, this allows for better checks when assessing hazards that could potentially be up ahead, such as pedestrians or other objects that may be obstructing the path you intend to take.
Improve Driving Standards
To effectively adhere to electric pallet truck safety measures, it is recommended that drivers are properly trained and are equipped with the correct driving accreditations. This is so that drivers are exposed to all the necessary checks, experiences and procedures to greatly reduce workplace accidents. Other methods to increase the driving standards around the workplace consist of: frequent refresher courses or even VR training.
Install Safety Barriers
Almost all facilities can avoid forklift/pallet truck accidents by using safety barriers that are properly tested and certified. This is because the right barriers, in the right place, can greatly minimise operating risk. This provides protection for people and assets from forklift vehicle movements and will allow operators to work in full confidence.
While we have discussed electric pallet truck safety measures, it is important to recognise that if companies religiously follow these safety precautions, it significantly reduces the chance of having an accident and vehicle downtime. Furthermore, while initiating an electric pallet jack safety program in your facility might sound excessive, it can literally save lives and as the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Finally, it is advise that you:
- Do not operate trucks/pallets if it needs repairing or if it is in any way unsafe
- Do not operate or work unless you are trained, qualified and authorised to do so, and have read the operator manual for all knowledge relating to the controls and what they do
- Obey the health, safety and repair instructions when operating a pallet truck
- Do not take shortcuts as this could lead to injuries or longer equipment downtime in the future