Hand trucks are tools intended to make most jobs easier and safer. This may sound like a minor issue but the proper use of a hand truck can reduce one of the most common workplace injuries - back trauma. Like any other tool it is important for the operator to take safety precautions and know how to properly use the device. If not used accordingly the machine intended for safety will end up causing an accident.
The most important thing to remember is choosing the right hand truck for the job. There are many designs depending on what you’re intending to move. Hand trucks come with different size lift plates, 2-wheel or 4-wheel options, electric lifts plates, stair climbing attachments, appliance dollies, and drum handling kits just to name a few. Be sure to do your research and pick the right machine for the job. Some units will be more expensive than others but having the right tool for the job will pay for itself in the long run. If you only need a specific hand truck for one time use, check with your local equipment rental business.
The most common time for injuring yourself is when loading or unloading the hand truck. 2-wheelers look easy to handle, but it's just as easy to lose the load and injury someone. Review this simple guideline for tips on how to safely operate your hand truck.
- Always place the heaviest objects at the bottom.
- Do not exceed the manufacturer’s load capacity rating.
- Place the load so it is over the axle, the weight should not be carried by the handles.
- Make sure the load is secure so it won’t slip, shift, or fall. Ratchet straps or bungee cords may be needed.
- Walk forward with a 2-wheeler, don’t walk backwards.
- Keep the load in front of you when going downhill and behind you when going uphill.
- The stacked load should be no taller than shoulder height. You should be able to see over the load.
- Do not operate the hand truck with wet or greasy hands.
- Enter elevators by backing in.
- Never ride or let others to ride on the truck.
- Make sure the hand truck has received proper maintenance: properly inflated tires, no loose bolts, greased axle and bearings, charged battery, inspect for rust and damage, etc.
- Follow proper lifting techniques to place the load on the hand truck. Use your legs, and keep your back straight.
The most important thing to remember is take it slow and be cautious. If you have questions on the capacity rating or proper operation of your hand truck try to locate a model number stamped in the frame or a serial number tag. A quick Google search will usually pull up all pertinent information. Follow these simple tips to ensure a safe experience with your hand truck and good luck with all of your moving and lifting jobs.
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.
Sales Coordinator, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company