If you’ve been tasked with moving boxes or other stored items located on pallets around your warehouse at work, a pallet jack will be a valuable ally from the start to the end of this job. Given the heavy-duty nature of this device and the strenuous manner of the task, it’s important that you make safety a priority. Doing so involves reading the pallet jack’s manual and thoroughly familiarizing yourself with the controls before beginning the work. Here are three specific tips that you should keep in mind while you operate the pallet jack.

Push the Pallet Jack

One of the keys to safely operating the pallet jack is to only maneuver it through pushing. You should never pull a pallet jack for multiple reasons. Pushing this device requires you to use proper ergonomics — you should stand behind the handle, grip it with both hands and put your weight into it as you move forward. When you attempt to pull the pallet jack, you’ll have your body contorted and you won’t be able to put your weight behind the load, which means that you have a risk of straining a muscle in your upper body. Pushing the pallet jack also means that you’re facing the direction that you’re traveling, giving you clear visibility of the safest path to take.

Walk the Intended Route First

Once you’ve loaded up the pallet jack, it’s beneficial to take a couple minutes to walk the route that you plan to take. Doing so without pushing the pallet jack gives you the ability to be more aware of hazards such as sharp turns or low-hanging objects that could disrupt your path. If you’re unsure of your ability to access a specific area, it’s better to measure the pallet jack’s width and then measure the area of the warehouse in question to avoid getting stuck later.

Be Careful When You’re on Ramps

If your warehouse has ramps, you’ll have to be extra careful to maneuver the pallet jack and its heavy load along this change in grade. If you’re going down the ramp, keep the pallet jack’s brakes partially engaged and take small steps forward; don’t try to zoom down the ramp quickly, as you might be out of control at the end and have an accident. When you’re traveling up a ramp, keep your body square with the device to avoid muscle strains and be ready to apply the brakes if you’re struggling with the change in grade.

For information about pallet jacks and how to properly use them, consider contacting a local supplier, such as Garland’s, Inc.