Forklifts are crucial pieces of equipment for moving pallets from place to place in a warehouse or in a loading bay, but it’s not always practical to train every member of your staff on operating a forklift. You may not have the working space to operate a forklift, or the budget to purchase and maintain one. In the meantime, all those loaded pallets still need to be moved. What can you do to keep your operations on track?
Douglas Equipment has the perfect solution for you: electric pallet jacks. These versatile, easy-to-operate pieces of equipment don’t require the training and financial investment that forklifts do; they use a rechargeable battery rather than expensive fuel and can be operated in smaller spaces than forklifts. Workers can get up to speed on using an electric pallet jack efficiently and safely in a short amount of time. All you need to do is show them the simple controls, review safe practices, give them a practice run, and you’re on your way.
Douglas Equipment has been in the material handling business since 1955 and we have the expertise to match you with an electric pallet jack that will keep your palletized cargo moving at a price that fits most budgets. Let’s look at how simple it is to operate an electric pallet jack safely and productively.
Safety Before You Start
Before operating an electric pallet jack, it is critical to be mindful of a number of safety issues to prevent material damage and physical injury.
- Know the jack’s maximum safe lifting capacity. This information should be located on the metal data plate mounted on the jack. If your jack is missing this data plate, notify your supervisor.
- Review any manuals or other operator documentation. Some of the important information in the manual may be specific to the make and model of jack you’re using and may not be obvious.
- Inspect the jack for any broken, worn, or disconnected parts. Report any problems to your supervisor.
- Familiarize yourself with the jack’s safety features. These may include a reversing switch to move the jack away from you if you are pinned to an immovable object, or an auto-braking system that applies when the operating handle is in the full upright or horizontal position, preventing the jack from rolling out of control if you lose your grip on the handle.
- Make sure your hands and feet are not greasy or otherwise slippery to ensure you don’t lose your grip or your balance.
Bear in mind that these instructions are a general guideline for operating an electric pallet jack. Always review your jack’s manual for detailed information on how to operate your specific model of pallet jack.
- Unplug the jack from the battery charger and remove or stow the charging cord.
- Grasp the controller on the jack’s handle.
- Ensure that the forks are set at their lowest position.
- Twist the controller to move the jack forward. Twist the controller in the opposite direction to move the jack in reverse.
- Using the controller, steer the jack to the pallet you want to move.
- Slide the jack’s fork under the pallet.
- Use your jack’s control for raising the pallet off the ground. This control is usually marked with an up arrow.
- Use the controller to steer the jack to the desired location. These controls are usually marked with left and right arrows. The jack’s motor will propel the pallet forward, all you need to do is steer.
- Once the pallet is in place, use your jack’s control for lowering the pallet to the ground. This control is usually marked with a down arrow.
- Reverse the jack to slide the fork out from under the pallet.
- Plug the jack back into the charger when not in use or when you’re done for the day.
Electric Pallet Jack Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered the operating basics, let’s review some important practices that will keep you safe, prevent property damage, and extend the life of your electric pallet jack.
- NO PASSENGERS. Pallet jacks are not intended to carry people and riding along on one is extremely dangerous.
- Ensure your load is stable and centered on the fork before attempting to move it. Don’t stack loads too high, as this can create a falling hazard. Use extra care with extra high or wide loads to ensure you don’t collide with anything you can’t easily see.
- Keep the load as low to the floor as possible to keep its center of gravity low.
- Avoid sudden movement to prevent your load from tipping or sliding off the fork.
- If you’re moving the jack forward and you want to slow down, ease the controller into the reverse position until the jack comes to a stop. The jack will brake if the handle is fully upright or horizontal, but that will create a sudden stop and may destabilize your load.
- Keep your speeds slow and always be prepared to stop. Come to a complete stop before changing directions.
- When crossing aisles, sound your horn, take it slow, and keep right. Yield to any pedestrians.
- Don’t push or tow extra loads.
- Don’t try to operate the drive or lift controls when the jack is unmovable, as this will damage the motor.
- Exercise caution on ramps and inclines. Travel with the load downhill, and don’t angle or turn on ramps.
- Keep your hands and feet inside the running lines of the load.
- Keep up with regular maintenance of your electric pallet jack as recommended by the manufacturer.
Ready to Roll? Douglas Equipment Can Help!
As long as you stay alert and exercise good judgment, operating an electric pallet jack can be a simple and economical way to move your palletized materials. Our experts work with all the top manufacturers of electric pallet jacks in the marketplace, and if we don’t have what you’re looking for in stock, we can get it for you quickly and easily. Contact us online, or if you’re local to South Florida, call us at 305-888-3700. National customers can call us at 800-451-0030.