Moving pallets around can put strain on the worker. This strain can lead to physical injuries. Unloaded pallets can weight as much as 50 pounds to 80 pounds. Imagine the weight of the pallets when a load has been added. It is for this reason that equipment should be used when dealing with pallets. There are several types of pallet lift equipment on the market that can be used.
One such equipment is a pallet jack that can come in either manual or powered. Pallet jacks are small and allow for use in areas where there is not enough space for bigger equipment to safely operate. Pallet jacks have limited lift heights so storing or loading the pallets will have to be at shorter heights. With the manual, you will have to move the handle up and down to achieve lift but with the powered pallet jacks, the lifting is done for you. The powered pallet jacks remove all forms of physical strain from the operator.
The Pallet Stacker
Another option that you have is a pallet stacker. These are best used in a powered form and give higher lift options than the pallet jacks. Usually these will run on batteries and can be acquired with a built in charger to ensure optimal performance. Another great feature of pallet stackers is the ride on platform. This means that loads get moved quicker than a walk-behind equipment option. They can operate in almost the same small vicinities that pallet jacks can, thus allowing them to be a great choice in pallet lift equipment for small workspaces.
The Forklift Option
The other heavy-duty option is the forklift. The forklift can lift larger load capacities than the pallet jack and pallet stacker as well as achieve higher lift heights. Forklifts require more space to move around than the other two options though. Also unlike the pallet jack and pallet stacker a forklift requires training and certification to be able to operate. Forklifts also are able to operate better on multiple types of flooring and outdoor conditions. This is not a very good option though for places that has limit spacing for operating the forklift.
Safety In The Workplace
All of these options do pose some risks and for that reason safety precautions need to be taken. Pallet jacks and pallet stackers need to have weight capacity plates placed on them and visible to the operator. Exceeding the weight capacity can damage the equipment and cause bodily injury to the worker. All operators should be shown how to properly handle the pallet jacks and stackers prior to use. Additionally a pre-operation inspection should be performed prior to usage.
Forklifts pose a number of safety hazards and therefore all operators are required by OSHA regulations to go through a training session and become forklift certified. These safety precautions and OSHA regulation are put into place to ensure the safe usage of pallet lift equipment to reduce damage to the equipment and harm to the operator and other workers in the vicinity.