Hand Pallet truck safety is an important topic for safety toolbox talk because it is used in almost all manufacturing plants across the world. A Hand Pallet truck is used for lifting and shifting heavy material from one location to another location. This machine is designed for the safety of people who are involved in the activities of material handling.
Many people injured themselves during the shifting of material. Previously material shifting activities were carried out manually, in that case, people who were involved in this type of work faced issues with their backs. Many of them have been unable to do their routine work in their older age due to improper lifting techniques and methods.
By using HOPT(Hand Operated Pallet truck) issues related to manual lifting were resolved but some other hazards is introduced in this activity. It is not as dangerous as a forklift but has some risks.
Let’s understand what types of hand pallet truck safety are required during operations
Risks associated with the Hand Pallet Truck operation
- Back injury:
- Many times operator load more weight in HOPT than their design load, in that case, it’s not rolling freely and the person has to do more effort for shifting which is one of the reasons behind back injury. (Unsafe act)
- Improper repetitive posture is also the reason behind back injury
- Damage floor is also the reason in some cases for this issue. A person has to pull the truck with more force due to its wheel getting stuck by the damaged floor
- Shoulder pain/dislocation:
- Due to the Sudden jerking of a pallet truck
- Foot injury:
- Sometimes due to the absence of the mind wheel of HOPT may rollover on the foot and person got injured
- Due to heavy material falling on the leg while shifting material
- Stuck with some object on the way of material shifting
- Bruises or cut injury:
- Sometimes person may fall by tripping on a fork of HOPT which resulted in bruises and cut injuries
- Property damages:
- Impact due to Fall of material while shifting may damage the floor or properties
Control measures for Hand Pallet Truck Safety Operation
Elimination: Try to eliminate the activity of material shifting or lifting during the designing of a workplace in such a way that lifting and shifting by HOPT can be eliminated. i.e. Provide overhead cranes across the work area for shifting of material.
Substitution: If material shifting and lifting are still required then, replace the use of Hand operated pallet truck (HOPT) with Battery operated pallet truck (BOPT) so risk related to back pain, and shoulder pain can be eliminated
Engineering Control: If still use of BOPT is required then ensure regular maintenance of BOPT through a Preventive maintenance schedule.
Administrative control: Make sure the person who is using the Hand pallet truck must have valid authorization or competency. Use a pre-inspection checklist for all BOPTs to ensure healthiness before use. Carried out third-party load tests on an annual basis to verify its lifting capacities.
Personal Protective equipment: PPE is the last level of defense in the hierarchy of control. Use Safety shoes, hand gloves, and a helmet
Some common controls required for the Safe Operation of Hand Operated pallet truck
- Don’t use a hand pallet truck if you are not authorized to use it
- Always make sure the weight of the lifting material should be less than the Design load of HOPT
- Mark the Safe working load (SWL) of HOPT on truck
- Make sure the pre-inspection checklist must be filled before use
- Wheel must be in good condition and be free for movement
- No leakages of fluid from the truck
- Steering the truck should not be harder it should be easily moved
- Ensure hydraulics must be worked properly
- Ensure that the fork is placed fully under the load and it should be in the center of the load to maintain balance and stability while shifting
- Keep a minimum distance between the floor and the pallet to improve the stability of the material while shifting. Keep HOPT as low as possible
- While using a truck avoid running because the load may get unbalanced during speeding and the risk of an accident is increased
- Avoid the use of trucks on a ramp. And if required make sure your position should not be in the line of fire
- Avoid sharp turns of HOPTs. take an appropriate turning radius to avoid toppling of load
- In case of a blind spot use a convex mirror
- If material is obstructing your vision don’t move the truck without any assist
- Before starting of journey ensure the entire route is free from any obstructions
- If someone is found on your way while shifting material never think that he/she may automatically move when the truck reaches nearer to them. An accident can happen if he or she is not careful
- Never operate the truck with a single hand, always use both hands for operation.
- Make sure your back should be in straight positions while shifting to avoid an ergonomic hazard
- Never use one forked for material lifting
- Keep attentive while lower the load to avoid pinching of leg
- After completion of work all trucks must be parked at their defined parking area, Never place trucks on pedestrians to avoid a trip hazard
- Never block emergency equipment like emergency exits, extinguishers, etc. by HOPT
- Don’t ride on a truck it is designed for material movement only, not for man movement
- Use Safety shoes and hand gloves for safety
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