Three Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Pallet Jack

Posted on: 30 December 2015

When you're planning a heavy-duty job at home, such as a major renovation or even a reorganization of your garage, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is moving heavy objects around. While there's always the option of enlisting the help of some friends -- and subsequently nursing a sore back -- a better choice is to visit a rental center and rent a pallet jack. This wheeled, two-forked device is designed to move heavy objects sitting on wooden pallets with a great deal of ease. If you haven't previously used a pallet jack, it's necessary to not only read the instruction manual after you rent it, but also to remember these three safety tips.

Don't Pull the Pallet Jack

Once you've loaded a pallet and its contents onto the pallet jack, your next mission is to move the load to its desired location. It's important to always push the pallet jack rather than pull it. Pulling it typically requires you to put your upper body in an awkward position in which you're pulling the heavy load with your arms, shoulders and back. The result can often be an injury. When you push the pallet jack, you're able to keep your body in a healthy position and put your weight behind the load, which will make the job safer and also easier. Finally, pushing the load provides you with better control, which is especially important if you're working in tight corners or even on a sloped driveway.

Don't Use Your Feet as a Brake

Whenever you need to stop the pallet jack, it can be tempting to place your foot against its wheel. What you might momentarily forget, however, is that the pallet jack can easily be carrying several hundred pounds and could run over your foot. Always familiarize yourself with the pallet jack's braking mechanism. The tool's heavy-duty brakes, which are controllable with the hand lever, are able to help you safely stop the jack quickly when needed.

Don't Cut Sharp Corners

Maneuvering the pallet jack when it's carrying a full load isn't difficult, but will take a period of adjustment. The biggest thing to remember is to always turn widely around corners. Cutting a corner too sharply can damage the wall, the load you're carrying and even cause an injury to you if you unexpectedly run into the jack handle. While you'll soon get the hang of properly turning angles, the key to remember is to always turn as wide as you can.

If you have a business and are thinking of purchasing a pallet jack, go to sites of various retailers to check your options.