Ensuring your workplace is safe is the most important thing for your business. Your staff need clear and responsible guidance on operating safely in your warehouse, factory, or other working environment. This is especially important when regarding manual handling.
Manual handling mishaps make up a significant amount of workplace accidents that cause injury. Most of these injuries are strains – to the back, arms, hands, and fingers – and sprains to the wrist, thumb, and ankle.
These injuries come from wear and tear or improper technique, but all can be avoided by using handling tools in your warehouse. Pallet trucks and stackers can literally and figuratively take the weight off your staff.
At PARRS, we take health and safety incredibly seriously, so we’ve put together a guide for lifting and stacking loads in your workplace and how to do it safely. From handling techniques to equipment tutorials, our guide has everything you need to ensure the loads on your site will be handled and transported safely.
Table of contents
- Manual handling health and safety tips
- How to operate pallet trucks safely
- Advantages of pallet stackers
- Create a safe workplace with PARRS
Manual handling health and safety tips
While automating most lifting tasks is ideal for staff welfare and efficiency, sometimes manual handling can’t be avoided. Even if it isn’t a regular job, your employees need to know how to handle loads safely and not put themselves at unnecessary risk of injury. We’ve put together some key tips to ensure your staff can handle this without danger.
Keep it close
There can be a temptation to hold out your arms and create space when carrying a load; we advise against this. Instead, hold the load close to your chest for added stability. The further away the load, the more strain on your lower back. Keeping it close to your chest also means the friction from your clothing helps maintain the weight where you need it.
Check your feet & use your legs
How you position your feet is very important to correctly lifting a load. When close, stand square onto the load with your front leg as far forward as possible while remaining comfortable. If you’re picking something up from the ground, go with the old, reliable knees, not your back. Your leg muscles are more suited to bending to gain a lower stance than your back.
Pull and push
Once your feet are secure, you should be able to generate a lot of power when pulling or pushing. Ensure the floor is dry and solid under your feet, and grip the load between the waist and shoulder. This gripping technique will take the weight off your back. If you can, try turning your back to the load and pushing with your legs, utilising the strength in your lower body.
Size, weight and distance
When carrying loads, there are three main obstacles to consider. Is it too big? Is it too heavy? And is it too far? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we recommend finding an alternative solution. Any length, width or height above 75 cm provides a greater risk of injury, as it may be too big to get a decent grip. Avoid carrying loads for further than 10m, as there’s a chance you’ll have used all your energy in the journey and will have little left to put it down safely.
How to operate pallet trucks safely
Pallet trucks are commonly used in warehouses and other industrial sites across the country, and they can save workers vast amounts of energy and time. You can only ensure that the risk of injury in your workplace is minimised when your staff know how to operate a pallet truck properly. Follow these simple steps to guarantee workplace safety with pallet trucks.
Check the truck before use
Inspect the pallet truck for any damages, cracks, or severe wear and tear. Press the lever downwards before operating the handle to raise the truck’s forks, ensuring the hydraulic pump works. Raise the forks fully to check for any signs of hydraulic oil leaking.
Adhere to the load limit
Before loading the truck, ensure you’ve checked the load limit. Most pallet trucks have this limit marked on the side and should be taken seriously. The maximum capacity of pallet trucks available at PARRS ranges up to 2500kg. Overloading a truck can cause major damage to the truck itself, surrounding equipment, or even another staff member.
Walk and pull
Ensure there is sufficient space around the operator and enough clearance when raising the forks. Face the direction you will be moving and double-check that your route is clear of obstructions. Pull the truck and walk carefully along your route, avoiding ramps, as flat surfaces are much kinder when pulling loads. Pulling is preferred to pushing as it saves energy and allows the operator to check for hazards.
Manual pallet trucks will take physical effort to pull around, so if you have more to spend, we recommend electric pallet trucks to keep the risk of strain and injury to a minimum.
Advantages of pallet stackers
Pallet stackers are a functional and worthwhile addition to any workplace that requires considerable loads to be lifted and transported. Like pallet trucks, stackers take away the hard and laborious effort put into manual handling for a more productive and safe process.
Learn about the key benefits of having a pallet stacker in your workplace:
- Pallet stackers have a low entrance barrier for operators. A dedicated in-house team or fellow employees can teach other staff how to operate stackers in just one session.
- Your business requirements may change over the years, but a stacker can stay with you. Pallet stackers are designed to be versatile and can be used in various industrial settings. Due to the efficiency and reduced risk of injury it brings to your workplace, there’s always room for a pallet stacker.
- The agility of stackers makes movement through the warehouse more smooth compared to other machines that can move rigidly with uncertainty surrounding their stability.
- Stackers are either manually or electrically operated, meaning no diesel or petrol is required, making this investment an environmentally safe one in the long term. An operator drives an electric stacker without physical exertion, whereas a manual pallet stacker is controlled by a lever that the operator cranks.
Increase your workplace safety and productivity with a selection of pallet stackers at PARRS.
Create a safe workplace with PARRS
Lifting, stacking, and transporting loads is a key aspect of many businesses. Now you know how to operate these tasks safely, browse PARRS to ensure you have the correct equipment to ensure your workplace is secure and your staff are safe.
Choose electric powered trucks and trolleys to reduce the physical demand of workers and continue your journey to a safe and efficient workplace.