Motorized pallet jacks or manual pallet jacks are found in nearly every warehouse and are essential in many manufacturing and distribution work environments. These jacks can easily lift 2,500 pounds or more, making swift work of heavy loads that need to be moved.
Pallet jacks are commonly regarded as being safer than a forklift, but there are still safety hazards that all pallet jack operators should be aware of, including:
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.178 contains safety requirements relating to fire protection, design, maintenance, and use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks.
Perform a basic pallet jack and workplace inspection at the beginning of every shift or before using the pallet jack for the first time each work day. At minimum, look for the following:
If any defects or issues are found during the inspection do not operate the pallet jack and report immediately.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.178(q)(7) Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily. Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they shall be examined after each shift. Defects when found shall be immediately reported and corrected.
Wear required PPE when operating any pallet jack.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.178(o)(1) Only stable or safely arranged loads shall be handled. Caution shall be exercised when handling off-center loads which cannot be centered.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.178(n)(8) Under all travel conditions the truck shall be operated at a speed that will permit it to be brought to a stop in a safe manner.
Pallet jacks may seem simple enough to use, but no employee should operate a pallet jack unless they have been trained on safe operation of the pallet jacks used in their current workplace.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.178(l)(1)(i) The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely...
When descending any ramp, always keep the pallet jack in front of you. Never pull a pallet jack down any incline!
Slow down at aisle intersections, blind corners and elevators. Sound the horn and give pedestrians the right of way.
If motorized or manual pallet jacks are used in your workplace, then make sure you don't skip the safety meeting! All employees who work in the area should be familiar with the unique hazards associated with pallet jacks and the safe work practices expected in the workplace.
If you are ready to do more for your workplace safety and health program, adding regular safety meetings or toolbox talks is guaranteed to improve workplace safety while improving productivity and your company’s bottom line at the same time.
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A membership to Weeklysafety.com comes at a very low price that never goes up no matter how many employees you have and no matter how many awesome safety topics you use. Included in your membership are hundreds of safety topics that you can use for your safety meetings, toolbox talks and safety moments.
Take a look at our website to learn more about everything that comes with a Weeklysafety.com membership. Click below to learn more today!
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