People who are familiar with warehousing activities surely can’t miss the sight of pallet jacks that are part and parcel of any warehouse. Pallets that are used for storing materials in warehouses can be moved with ease by using pallet jacks that are also capable of lifting the load through small heights. This is a cheaper and efficient way of handling pallets rather than using huge fork lift trucks that are very expensive. This versatile material handling equipment has many other names – the most common one is pallet truck.
The equipment consists of two forks supported on wheels that are attached to a hydraulic unit which is pumped to make the forks rise from the ground. This feature is essential to move heavy pallets without touching the ground. The fork length matches with the pallet sizes that can be a maximum of 48 inches and the average fork width is 7 inches. The maximum height through which a pallet jack can be raised is 7 inches.
Powered pallet jacks
According to the mode of operation there are manual pallet jacks and electric pallet jacks. The electric or powered pallet jacks are battery driven and it restricts the operator’s role in just switching on and off the machine, which does all the work that had to be done manually in moving and elevating the equipment. Powered pallet trucks are used for very heavy loads while for normal loads the manual pallet jack is still very popular as well as economic.
Manual pallet jacks
The power required to operate this type of pallet jack is derived from the manual force applied by the user. By pumping action of the handle, the hydraulic system is activated that raises the fork to the desired height before the equipment is moved around. The fork length can be chosen according to the dimension of the load and can be as high as 8 feet in length. Some pallet jacks have a weighing scale placed on it to ensure that the equipment is never overloaded, which is a major safety requirement.
The operator is responsible for ensuring safe use of pallet jacks. The operator has to be trained in its safe use so that no harm is caused to people who are around and the goods that are being transported are also safe. Checking the equipment before use is mandatory and if any flaw is detected it should be rectified before use. Awareness about safety is crucial in using this equipment. The wheels have to be in good condition and all controls should be working satisfactorily.
Taking the right precautions can avoid many accidents in pallet jack use.
- Avoid overloading the equipment.
- Maintain a slow pace when moving the load as hurrying may cause accidents.
- Make sure that your feet are never placed under the machine, not even when it is stationery.
- Never make the mistake of pulling the load.
- Be conversant with the right techniques of lifting loads and use it correctly when loading or unloading.
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