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Electric pallet trucks for tail lifts: How to use them safely and efficiently

Safety has to be a priority at work and no-one should enter their work environment feeling nervous about hazards or inefficient equipment. For loading truck drivers and factory workers, manual handling can be dangerous, especially when you don't have the right equipment to complete a task; many safety issues arise when it comes to loading and unloading equipment from trucks and tail lifts. In 2018 alone, 22% of all construction related injuries were attributed to improper handling, lifting or carrying objects; not only does this pose a physical threat to workers but it is also detrimental to the success of a business, as injuries lead to sick days and even a possible pay out of injury compensation.

Quality equipment is a worker's best friend when it comes to preventing injuries; electric pallet trucks are hands down the most useful when it comes to loading and transporting goods from a truck to a warehouse. However, using them isn't as straightforward as you might first think and it requires extensive practice and training in order to utilise them safely and efficiently; there are also a variety of styles to consider, as each pallet truck is designed for a unique purpose. However, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about electric pallet trucks and how they can be used on tail lifts; when used properly, the devices can revolutionise your work day and make your daily tasks run smoothly.

Why choose an electric pallet truck?

Reliable, efficient, safe: electric pallet trucks truly have it all. While it's also useful to have a manual pallet truck in your arsenal, an electric pallet truck is still an indispensable piece of kit. It's so much easier to use and manoeuvre, making the entire loading and unloading process a breeze; best of all, there is a decreased risk of injury for the user, as the advanced machine shoulders most of the weight. However, it's important to be aware of the many different types of electric pallet trucks available, as each model is designed for a specific purpose.

The PowerGlide is for general use around the factory or warehouse and can be used to transport up to 800kg of weight. A semi electric DriverTruk pallet comes with more advanced features, including a speed switch and emergency stop button; this device is also built to withstand more weight and is capable of transporting up to 1800kg of goods. If you need a really robust electric pallet truck capable of transporting heavy and bulky goods, then the PowerRide is the ideal product for you; it's built for tough workplaces and is suitable for long distance travel with heavy goods. The ramp is easy to control and is capable of lifting equipment onto high loading docks; it also has an efficient braking system if an emergency should strike.

However, when it comes to loading to and from tail lifts, no pallet truck is more effective than high lift. Also known as the scissor lift pallet truck, this convenient device is capable of transporting and lifting more than 1000 kilograms of goods. It can be raised and lowered in order to reach goods at a variety of heights, eliminating the need for dangerous manual lifting. Workers will be able to get more done and go home feeling content, instead of exhausted from a day of difficult manual labour. The versatile device can also be used elsewhere in the warehouse environment and is able to stack inventory, safely and easily; with a variety of fork sizes to choose from, this device can be used to lift and transport goods of many shapes and sizes. This device comes with all the safety features you would expect from a pallet truck, including an efficient braking system that will keep the products stable when the pallet is stationary.

How to use an electric pallet truck: Tips and tricks

An electric pallet truck simplifies the work day, but without proper training, using the device can become dangerous and you could also damage the goods you are transporting. Here's a quick overview on how to use an electric pallet truck in the safest and most efficient way possible:

1. Get familiar with your device

An electric pallet truck is slightly different to a manual one and there might be more buttons and controls compared to what you're used to. Familiarise yourself with the mechanisms of your device, including those that control speed, brake and lift; these will usually be located on the handle. Electric pallets are also subject to more mechanical errors so make sure you undergo the appropriate training so you know what to do if an electronic issue should arise.

2. Charge the battery

Battery charge will usually last around three hours, but this will vary depending on which device you're using. Ensure your product is fully charged before using it in order to have a productive day free from frustration. It's also a good idea to have spare batteries charging so you can simply swap them out as soon as one runs out.

3. Put forks beneath the pallet

When you're ready to lift and transport items, there are some things you should keep in mind. Pallet boards are specifically designed to sit comfortably and safely on pallet truck forks and make your life easier, so follow the wooden guides. Glide the forks underneath the product and make sure that they are securely underneath the pallet before lifting.

4. Loading and unloading

When moving items off and onto a vehicle, use the tail lift to your advantage. Move the device, as well as the goods it's carrying, onto the tail lift, allowing it to transport you up or down. It's important to know how much weight the tail lift can handle, or it could risk breaking or collapsing.

Safety precautions

Loading and unloading goods can be a dangerous task; did you know that 50% of tail lift accidents are caused by basic health and safety failures? http://www.tail-lift-services.co.uk/HSE/preventing-falls-tail-lift-guide.pdf Most people report falling or slipping from the lift, or being struck by a falling load; all of these issues can easily be prevented by becoming more aware of your surroundings and making small changes when operating the mechanical devices. Here are some health and safety precautions that you should take into consideration when using electric pallet trucks on tail lifts:

Maintenance

A faulty electric pallet truck is likely to cause you some safety problems, so make sure your device is regularly inspected. Electric pallets trucks might require more maintenance than regular machines, but our devices are of the highest quality, meaning you can look forward to a more efficient workday without fear of your device breaking; you can rely on it for years to come.

Extra equipment

As with most building or warehouse environment, you will need some extra health and safety equipment when operating mechanical devices. You should never place your feet under the pallet itself and you should be wearing steel capped boots just in case some of the goods fall onto your feet. If you're transporting volatile or acidic substances, it's recommended that all worker wear safety goggles to prevent any of the substance from getting into their eyes.

If you own a warehouse, having a dock leveller installed would make the transportation process so much easier as these make it easier and safer for workers to get large items from the vehicle and onto their electric pallet truck.

Planning

If you take into account the terrain of your journey, you'll be able to decide which pallet truck you require as well as how to navigate the path safely. If there's a downwards decline before you get to your destination, go down backwards in order to prevent the goods from falling from the pallet truck. Never rush your journey as this will make the goods more unstable and you could also bump into pedestrians or other workers; it's especially important to move slowly in narrow areas. as you need to carefully watch the walls for pinch points where you could scrape your hands or the pallet truck itself.

Loading onto the tail itself

Loading and removing products from the tail lift is littered with a lot of safety pitfalls, so navigate them with care. Be careful in wet weather conditions, as this can make the surface more slippery to walk on; you should also check the condition of the pallet you're loading because if it's leaking, this could become a slip hazard.

While it's tempting to overload your device to get the job done faster, this is often the cause of many injuries and broken devices; familiarise yourself with the loading capacity of the pallet truck and the tail lift, and never exceed it.

Tail lifts with open sides are especially dangerous; the products you're loading or unloading could fall off and the person operating the machine could slip and fall too. If it's essential to stand on the tail lift when it's in use, you should stand sideways in order to secure the pallet truck and reduce risk of objects falling from the device. Use safety gates when operating a tail lift; if you're not the driver of the truck itself, use temporary safety chains to give workers something secure to surround them and hold onto as they use the tail lift.

At SHS Handling solutions, work equipment is our passion; we believe that the right tools can make you feel safer and also make any work task much easier to accomplish. If you're interested in purchasing some electric pallet trucks, then contact a member of our expert who can help you with your order. We can answer any questions you have regarding the specific type of pallet truck you need; we can also offer some safety and handling advice in regards to your product.