Safe Use Of Hand Trucks
Without exception, every single consumer product is transported by a hand truck at one point or another from manufacturing to point of purchase.
Thirty years ago when the convertible aluminum hand truck was first invented it was a revolutionary idea that has come to dominate the Manual Material Handling industry.
However, where one challenge was solved, that being the ability to move more products per load, another was created; the weight of the new load capacity was greater than the ability of the worker to move it safely and efficiently.
Only in recent years have Ergonomic and Safety studies performed by Liberty Mutual, the United States, and Canadian OSHA revealed that this is a real problem that costs companies millions of dollars annually.
What’s the best way to move something? Ask someone else to do it for you! What’s the next best way? Be sure you know the proper way to move materials yourself.
Although hand trucks appear to be fairly simple devices, users must remember a few basic safety procedures:
- Use a hand truck that is appropriate for the job and the load to be carried.
- When stacking items on the truck, keep the heaviest load on the bottom to lower the center of gravity.
- Balance the load forward on the axle of the hand truck, so the weight will not be carried by the handle.
- Never stack items so high that you can’t see where you’re going.
- When carrying multiple boxes side by side, attempt to stagger them to “lock in” the boxes.
- Be sure the items to be transported on the hand truck are sturdy enough to be moved in this manner. Secure any bulky, awkward or delicate objects to the truck.
- Plan your route. Be aware of potential hazards to be encountered during the path of travel.
- As a rule, avoid walking backwards with a hand truck. Remember the back care rule: It is safer to push than to pull.
- Hand truck injuries typically occur by getting your hand pinched between the handles and a nearby stationary object, so take care when working your way through tight spaces. The use of gloves can provide extra protection.
- Always maintain a safe speed and keep the hand truck under control.
- Always park the trucks in a designated area, never in aisles or other places where they may cause a trip hazard or traffic obstruction. Two wheeled trucks should be stored on the chisel with handles leaning against a wall.
- When you use a hand truck properly, it does the job and reduces the chance you’ll strain a muscle or be injured. Let the truck do the work for you!