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A Pallet Truck: Training Employees on Operation

There’s no question that pallet trucks can be incredibly useful for your business. They are less prohibitively expensive and more nimble in smaller spaces than alternatives such as forklifts, and it is strengths like these that have allowed them to really make the difference to the productivity and efficiency of businesses the length and breadth of the UK. Another key advantage of a pallet truck (or pump truck as they are sometimes known) is that it doesn’t require a huge amount of specialist training for your staff before they can use it for the purpose for which it was designed. Nonetheless, that is not to suggest that they require no training at all, as we will explain further in this introductory article.

First of all, it’s vital that staff members that wish to use the truck ensure that they are wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E.) for safety reasons, including steel toe cap boots – particularly important given the heavy loads that pump trucks customarily carry and that could be so easily dropped if anything goes wrong.

Next, the member of staff in question should be trained to undertake a pallet check, which should be performed on a regular basis with the aim of ensuring that the truck is in proper working order prior to use. So that the staff member is able to easily manoeuvre the pallet truck, they should determine that it is not only clean but also that its wheels are free of objects such as string.

Your employees should not attempt to use equipment such as weighing scale pallet trucks to move any type of load before they have received appropriate manual handling training. Once they have, they should continue to carry out the manual handling procedure in exactly the same manner as they have been trained to do, with heavy loads being moved by two people. Nor should your employees ever be afraid to request further assistance if they need it. They should also be trained to check the loaded pallet prior to moving it to ensure, if necessary, that it is correctly wrapped, and they should also be sure to neatly stack loads onto the pallet so that accidents do not occur.

In addition to the preparation of the load, your employees should also, of course, be trained in how to actually operate them. This will involve being trained to depress the lever truck’s handle so that the forks descend to their lowest possible level, followed by pushing the forks into the middle space of the pallet.

Your employees will also need to be trained in the procedure of using the pump truck to raise the pallet from the floor, as it is only by doing this that it can be subsequently moved. This procedure involves pushing down the aforementioned lever on the handle before pumping the handle in an up and down movement. The pallet can then be carefully transferred to the desired new location when the employee pulls the truck’s handle. For safety, it is vital that as the employee uses the pump truck, they always face in the direction in which they are moving, as well as that they always pull the pallet trucks behind them.

One of the few remaining things that the employee now needs to know is how to unload the pallet in its new location, which is done by depressing the lever on the truck’s handle to lower the forks, followed by pulling the forks away from the pallet. As well as being trained in this procedure, the employee will now finally just need to be shown how to return the truck to its designated storage area well away from any Fire Exits, whilst also ensuring that for as long as the truck is not in use, its forks are parallel with a solid wall.