In an industrial or warehouse setting, pallet jacks are easily one of the primary pieces of material handling equipment that you have. These tools are easy to use, cost-effective, and pretty much anyone within the business can learn how to use one to perform their job. However, pallet jacks are a piece of equipment that can occasionally become damaged and create safety hazards while in use. Here are a few of the most common safety problems that can come into play with pallet jacks and the causes and solutions you should know to keep your employees as safe as possible.
Safety Hazard: The metal wheels on the forks are not rolling smoothly.
This is an issue because it can make it difficult for a user to smoothly maneuver the jack when it is loaded, which may contribute to the product falling off a pallet and causing injury. Additionally, wheels that will not roll smoothly can cause strain on the user because they have to use excessive force to move the loaded pallet jack.
Cause and Solution: Thankfully, a pallet jack which will not smoothly roll is usually a simple fix. Just clean the wheels and make sure they are free from built-up grime and debris. If the wheels are damaged or warped, they will need to be replaced.
Safety Hazard: The hydraulic pump of the handle leaks pressure.
If the handle is leaking air pressure, a loaded jack may drop to the floor unexpectedly. This kind of issue could easily cause injuries to the operator and people working on the area.
Cause and Solution: If the hydraulic jack of the pallet jack will not hold pressure, it is likely there is a busted seal in the pump cylinder or possibly damage to the cylinder of the pump itself. Examine the pump for signs of damage and replace components as necessary.
Safety Hazard: The forks of the pallet jack are worn.
Worn fork ends on a pallet jack make it more difficult to correctly and smoothly direct the jack under a pallet because the new forks are slightly contoured toward the ground. Worn forks without these contours will require extra strain and force by the user to slide the jack in place.
Cause and Solution: Pallet jack forks naturally wear down over time. Therefore, it is best to go ahead and have the forks replaced on an as-needed basis, which should be as soon as you notice major signs of wear.