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Electric Pallet Jack Safety Tips You Should Know

Posted by: admin on June 1, 2022

electric pallet jack safetyIn all the talk about pallet jack safety, electric pallet jacks sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Electrical pallet jacks are used mainly in warehouses and other places that require pallet transportation. However, unlike forklifts, they don’t do any real lifting. Instead, they only elevate the pallets enough to clear the ground.

Pallet jacks look safe. But as with any piece of industrial equipment, they come with certain hazards – including accidents. So it’s essential to understand the need for electric pallet jack safety training. As you’ll see, pallet jack safety practices are mostly common sense. But they’re still relevant, especially when it comes to preventing accidents.

Why Electric Pallet Jack Safety Matters

Just what is an electric pallet jack? OSHA puts electrical pallet jacks in the same category as forklifts. They’re both considered to be “powered industrial trucks.” That’s where the similarities end, though. The main difference between a forklift and an electric pallet jack is how they move cargo. While forklifts lift pallets onto shelves, pallet jacks can only hoist pallets a few inches off the ground. 

To better understand why electric pallet jack safety matters, it helps to get a handle on how they work. Most pallet jacks consist of two main components:

– Operator area/cabin. Located at the front of a pallet jack, this is where the operator stands and controls the equipment.

– Forks. These extend backward from the operator area. Most pallet jacks have two forks that lift pallets off the floor.

Designed to lift pallets high enough for ground clearance only, pallet jacks are simple to operate. First, the operator secures a pallet on the forks. Then embedded wheels lift the forks up a few inches, allowing the pallet jack to move.

In warehouses, pallet jacks are the truck of choice for “order picking.” This is the process of placing items on a pallet jack to fill customer orders. Once an order is complete, the operator usually wraps the pallets in clear plastic. This prevents items from falling off. Then, the pallets are dropped off in a truck or placed near a dock.

Here’s why electric pallet jack safety is necessary: because it runs on its own power. Anything that moves under its own power can cause an accident. Let’s look at some different aspects of pallet jack safety training, including examples of different hazards. Then we’ll talk about how can help with your electric pallet jack safety training needs.

The Power of Electric Pallet Jack Safety Training

Before diving into specific electric pallet jack safety tips, it’s important to clarify the requirements all operators must meet before using these powerful trucks. Like with forklifts, OSHA requires all operators to be fully trained and certified before they begin working. Employers are responsible for providing training opportunities. Fail to get your employees certified and your organization may be subject to expensive OSHA fines and penalties

There’s another reason to prioritize electric pallet jack safety training. Accidents and injuries are far more likely to occur when an inexperienced, untrained, and uncertified operator is at the helm of a pallet jack. While mastering these machines isn’t difficult, learning on the fly just isn’t an option with such hazardous equipment. By ensuring workers are properly trained, you can promote a culture of safety while minimizing the risk of workplace injuries. 

Electrical Pallet Jack Safety Practices

Despite its small size (compared to forklifts) and ease of use, electrical pallet jack accidents can still happen. Most of them have to do with the operator. Accidents can occur when the operator:

  • Doesn’t take pallet jack safety seriously
  • Exceeds weight limitations
  • Doesn’t follow safety protocols
  • Doesn’t properly balance pallets on the forks
  • Ignores potential hazards in the work environment
  • Operates the pallet jack in a careless or unsafe manner

Electrical pallet jack accidents can also occur when the pallet jack isn’t properly maintained or needs repairs. Worksite hazards can include other workers and equipment, as well as dirt or grease on the floors.

According to OSHA electric pallet jack safety specialists, pallet jack injuries can be more serious than you might expect. In one accident, a worker was fatally crushed by a falling load. He left the operator area and walked behind the pallet jack to check on the load. It’s not known if the load was stabilized properly.

Another worker had four toes on his left foot amputated due to a pallet jack accident.  He inadvertently dropped the pallet and backed away directly into the path of an oncoming forklift. The forklift ran over the worker’s foot, crushing his toes.

Other pallet jack workers have suffered crushed legs and bones broken. Many have been pinned between pallet jacks and other objects. Without proper safety training, workers may not know how to avoid common pallet jack hazards.  Too often, the result is a serious injury.

Electric Pallet Jack Safety Tips You Can Use

A majority of electrical pallet jack accidents are avoidable. Put these tips to use the next time you’re on the job:

1. Don’t Overload the Machine

Mega-loads on electrical pallet jacks are not safe under any circumstances. Always check your pallet jack’s load limits before using. If you can’t find the information, check with your safety supervisor.

2. Ensure the Cargo is Secure 

Pallets and all items on them should be secured. A slight misalignment of the pallets can do serious damage. Listen for cracking or splintering signs – these can be red flags that there is a misalignment. Then be sure to check the pallet for damage. 

3. Watch Your Speed

Electrical pallet jacks have a turtle-like top speed of about four miles per hour. While it may seem slow, it’s plenty fast enough to cause an accident, especially when carrying a 4,000 lb. load.

4. Pay Attention to Warehouse Entries and Exits 

Some warehouses have large plastic “flaps” for doors. Use caution when approaching. New drivers, not familiar with traffic flow, could accidentally exit or enter. Also, pay attention around corners. Approaching a corner too fast is an accident waiting to happen.

5. Properly Maintain Your Electrical Pallet Jack

Electrical pallet jacks require regular battery charges and checkups. Otherwise, safety and performance could be compromised.

6. Be Proactive in Preventing Accidents

Never place your feet underneath the electrical pallet jack. Don’t pull it, either – always push unless moving on an incline. When on an incline, move in reverse. Be mindful of pinch points to keep your hands safe.

Electric Pallet Jack Safety from

Unsafe work practices can result in accidents, injuries, and in some cases, thousands of dollars in OSHA fines. Most businesses simply can’t afford to take such risks. For the most convenient, comprehensive safety training, CertifyMe is the solution. We offer outstanding training modules for all skill levels, from beginners to experts. For only $299 you can make your workplace safe and more efficient.

Workers can complete their electric pallet jack safety training and receive their forklift certification from anywhere they have Internet access. And they can do it for about an hour.

You can also certify your workers on warehouse forklifts (Classes 1, 4, 5) and Class 7 rough terrain forklifts. The CertifyMe pricing page has additional info about training programs, costs and more. We offer lifetime support and free 3-year renewal training. Contact CertifyMe at 1-888-699-4800 today!

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