Hand Truck Safety — Most of us know what a hand truck is, even if we’re not familiar with warehouse work. It has a vertical frame with a handle (or handles) at the top, a ledge or toe plate at the bottom, and two or more wheels at the base. Hand trucks can be used to lift, tilt, and roll objects, boxes, crates, and more.
Hand trucks are an important and useful piece of equipment for warehouse workers. They can reduce physical strain and lower the risk of injury for workers who are transporting heavy or awkward items. In fact, they can also be time-savers, as multiple workers can move multiple items at the same time.
Hand Truck Safety Tips
- Use a hand truck that’s appropriate for the job and the load to be carried.
- Check the frame for defects and damage, including broken, cracked, or bent sections.
- Inspect the tires, wheels, axles, handles, and straps regularly for any damage or wear. Replace or repair any defective parts as soon as possible.
- Confirm the load capacity.
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.
- Delivery hand trucks with pneumatic wheels must be maintained to have recommended air pressure in both wheels at all times.
- Delivery hand trucks should have a securing strap or elastic cord to hold loads in place.
Hand Truck Safety – Injuries
While you might not think of the hand truck as a dangerous tool, misuse, poor maintenance, and distracted workers can cause accidents. In fact, the most common injuries that result from hand cart operations are:
- Fingers and hands being caught in, on, or between the cart and other objects
- Toes, feet and lower legs being bumped or crushed by the cart
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Strain injuries predominantly for the lower back, shoulder, and arm muscles and joints.
Learn more about hand trucks related to beverage delivery from OSHA.
Final thoughts – hand truck safety
Following safety guidelines and standards is the best way to be safe on the job. If you encounter a hand truck that has a problem, report it, take care of it, and move on with your work safely. Just because a tool looks or seems simple doesn’t mean it can’t be a hazard. Be aware at all times and stay safe out there!
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