When you operate a sack truck, the last thing on your mind should be whether or not it’s safe to use. So instead of worrying about safety while using one, focus on ensuring that tasks are carried out correctly and efficiently.
A good checklist can help ensure trucks are checked for safety beforehand; once you devise an all-inclusive list, you can operate your sack truck without fear of injury.
What Is a Sack Truck?
Before we get into more detail about sack truck safety, it’s good to learn exactly what these items are and why they’re so important. Simply put, a sack truck is there to help you carry heavy loads safely without having to lift those loads and move them from one location to another yourself.
Sack trucks are used in warehouses, industrial facilities, workshops, and for home use.
There are many injuries that happen each year simply because these trucks aren’t used correctly or because they have a malfunction that hasn’t been tended to, and these injuries cost billions in hospital bills and days off of work every year. There are two main types of sack trucks:
Sack trucks also come in various sizes, designs, and weight capacities. They are able to accommodate as little as 75kg or as much as 600kg or even more. But whichever one you choose, it’s important to remember that checking its parts and making sure everything is in top-notch running order is crucial if you want that next job to go as planned.
Health and safety legislation requires companies to keep their trucks in excellent working order. Laws can be broken if these safety procedures are ignored. More importantly, a faulty sack truck could result in injury and even death if involved in an accident.
Things to Check Before You Start Working
A simple sack truck inspection checklist helps make sure everything is in working order before you attempt to move heavy items and here are five things that you need to check before you use your sack truck:
Check for any broken parts
The first thing you should do is check the sack truck from top to bottom to see if anything is broken or somehow damaged. Next, check the handle, the catches, and the toe of the truck to make sure everything looks the way it’s supposed to look. If something is wrong, you’ll need to either repair it or choose another sack truck to use.
Check the wheels
The wheels should be turning correctly, have good tread, have the right amount of tyre pressure, and turn without any type of resistance or sticking. Also, ensure that you never over-or under-fill the tyres with air because this can directly affect the truck’s performance.
Check the toe plate
The toe plate is where your items will be lying on, so it must be sturdy and undamaged. Sometimes the toe plate will be damaged if someone exposed the truck to excessive force of some type. If you notice any wear on the welds or joints, it’s usually better not to use the sack truck for now.
Check the axle
Since the axle is the main load-bearing component of the sack truck, it has to be in top-notch shape for the sack truck to work properly. Check for things such as rust, bending, or anything that looks like a fracture or tear. If something is wrong, you have to make the repairs or choose another sack truck before getting back to work.
Check the maximum load capacity
All sack trucks have a max load capacity, so you’ll need to estimate how much of a load you’ll be hauling before choosing to use that particular truck. Max load capacities can range from 75kg to around 2000kg, but you can break the truck or the items you’re hauling if you don’t have a sack truck that is sturdy enough. Fortunately, the manufacturer will let you know the weight capacity, so you don’t have to guess it.
Remember that a thorough inspection of the entire sack truck is imperative if you want to keep the truck, the items you’re hauling, yourself, and those around you safe from harm. Checking every part of it is a necessity, and if you’re trained in what to look for first, that’s even better. Just make sure you talk to a supervisor if you have any questions about what to look for, and if there is any doubt whatsoever about the safety of the truck, it’s best to use another one instead.
Some Additional Tips
In addition to the checks mentioned earlier, here are some more things we recommend:
Other Tips You Need to Be Aware of
A good sack truck inspection checklist doesn’t just involve the right clothing and inspection of the truck itself. It also means knowing how to load, operate, and unload the truck.
When you start loading the sack truck, always make sure you put the heaviest items on the bottom of the toe plate and the lightest items on the top. When you do this, the lighter items won’t get crushed or damaged, and the entire truck will be more stable as you’re working.
Finally, inspect the truck and make sure all items are stable, steady, and secure. If you doubt your items are secure, either take two trips or use a strap to secure the load.
Transporting Your Items From Point A to Point B
Transporting your items isn’t just a matter of loading the items and pushing the sack truck forward. Always start by holding the truck’s handle the right way, which means that your grip should be tight and firm.
Practice good posture, which means keeping your back straight, your legs shoulder-width apart, and pulling the truck towards you to make sure that it is resting on the rear wheels. Once you start pushing the truck forward, never loosen your grip on the handle, or it could fall forward onto the floor.
If you notice that the sack truck isn’t moving freely or seems to be dragging, there might be something wrong with it. If this happens, check for two main things:
Unloading Your Sack Truck
Unloading the sack truck involves some common-sense recommendations. Unload the truck slowly, only lift one box at a time, and always bend your knees and not your back when you’re unpacking boxes to avoid any potential sprains or strains.
The sack truck when used properly allows for a wide variety of heavy lifting activities without much risk of injury.
Make sure that you and your crew are safe by following these simple safety tips. Back pain can be a truly awful injury – we hope that this checklist will help keep everyone as safe as possible.