Eureka Forklifts

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How to Use a Pallet Jack Safely

Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) requirements stipulate that some workplace machinery — such as a forklift — must be operated by someone holding a valid license to do so. However, there is other equipment that can be used without a license and it’s important to understand proper procedure to ensure you avoid hazards in your workplace.

Pallet jacks are a must-have in almost any warehouse or stockroom, as it gives one person the ability to lift heavy loads safely and efficiently. It’s imperative that you wear steel capped boots when operating a pallet jack, along with gloves and safety eyewear if any chemicals are involved. General precautions that should always be considered include:

  • Never exceed the weight limit
  • Never pull the load (always push)
  • When going down an incline, move in reverse
  • Never place feet underneath the jack
  • Always move slowly and be aware of changes to your surroundings
  • Be alert when using your hands to avoid pinch points
  • Always use proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading

The Operator is Accountable for the Safety of Others and Themselves

It is always the responsibility of the operator to ensure the pallet jack is in good condition and used correctly. Quick inspections before use are a great way to check for damage or malfunction and reduce the risk of anything going wrong during operation. These checks should include:

  • Testing the functionality and responsiveness of all controls and ensuring you are familiar with them
  • Examining the wheels for cracks and other forms of damage
  • Inspecting the general condition of the entire jack

Once you are satisfied that the pallet jack is in good condition and working correctly, try to think ahead. Are you travelling some distance with the load? Is the path to your destination clear? Will your view be obstructed in any way? Checking your route and addressing any potential issues before you start will help make life easier if there are any unexpected changes to the environment. If you think you might need a spotter, it’s always better safe than sorry.

Other things to Think About

Even if your pallet jack is functioning properly and the operator is following best practice, you can still encounter hazards created by the pallets themselves. Moisture can breakdown and significantly weaken pallets, which is why they should always be stored in a dry place and inspected for rot and general wear. On top of that, keep an eye out for leakage from current or previous loads as this can be absorbed into the material and lower the overall strength of the pallet.

Think Smart and Be Prepared

Even though you don’t need a license to use a pallet jack, it’s vital that operators understand the hazards and always take the necessary precautions to use the equipment safely. Following best practice with consistent discipline pays off in the long run through reduced accidents and improved employee welfare.

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86 Delta St, Geebung QLD 4034
PO Box 90 Geebung, Queensland, 4034

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Eureka Forklifts has almost 30 years experience dealing with forklifts in the SE Qld region.

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