How To Use A Pallet Jack

Tips and Basic Guidelines on How to Choose and Use a Pallet Jack

People often decide on pallet jacks instead of forklifts as the machines are perceived as less complex and easier to use. Pallet jacks are normally more compact in size and thus perfectly suited for a wide range of applications in warehouse, workshop, and retail settings. Although you still need forklifts for many heavy-lifting tasks, the pallet jacks are the perfect machines to ease the workload at a warehouse. With manual, electric, and semi-electric options to choose from, it is vital to understand how to use a pallet jack first. This can help you pick the option that best suits your needs. It will also be crucial to operating the machine in a safe and precise manner to minimise the risks of injuries, product damage, and financial losses in the workplace.


The Difference Between Manual and Electric

pallet jackAnother main reason a person might buy a pallet jack instead of a forklift is simply the affordability factor. The units are designed for the transferring of heavy items as may be the case in a wholesale operation.

If you follow the correct steps when you use the machine, the task of lifting and moving heavy items becomes a pleasure instead of a tedious operation. You might think purchasing motorised equipment is always the better option, but if you don’t want to spend too much and all you need is a manual unit for usage in a large furniture store, wholesale sweets shop, or perhaps a livestock feed centre. Below are a few of the differences between manual and electric pallet jacks to help you understand how operation differs between the two types:


Electric Version Advantages Include:

  • Faster completion of large transfer tasks.
  • Better suited for larger areas such as warehouses where you need to travel considerable distances from the one side to the other in the said work environment.
  • Ability to handle heavier and larger loads.
  • Less physical strain required for operation and thus reduced operator fatigue.


Manual Version Advantages Include:

  • Strong and steady build.
  • Easier to use in small spaces.
  • Costs on maintenance and purchase are far less than with the electric types.
  • More customisation options to improve functionality.
  • Doesn’t require any electricity and thus lowers the cost of operation.
  • Perfect for areas where smaller loads must be transferred, such as a grocery store.


In addition to having differences in their benefits, they also differ in their minor disadvantages. The electric units require more skill to operate than the manual types. In either case, it is imperative to learn how to use a pallet jack properly before utilising the unit for load lift and movement.


How to Use an Electric Pallet Jack

If you train your staff how to use a pallet jack correctly, you can reduce the risks of employee injuries or damage to products. We provide a quick introduction, but it is imperative to ensure your staff are well-trained on how to use the equipment properly.

  • First unplug the jack from its power source if it is charging.
  • Make sure to move all cables and obstacles out of the way before using the equipment.
  • Get to know the control panel by checking where all the buttons are located.
  • Know the functions of each button.
  • If equipped with an instrument panel, make sure you know what each of the warning lights and readings means.
  • By using the forward function, get the fork lined up with the pallet and load it onto the prongs of the jack.
  • Now you can simply navigate your way to the desired location with the use of the buttons on the control panel.
  • Switch off the machine when not in use.
  • Recharge it at the required intervals.


How to Use a Hand Pallet Jack

With a manual jack, you will be working a bit harder to achieve your goal, but it still beats having to use multiple workers for heavy lifting. The manual unit is also perfect for courier and furniture removal operations. Here’s a quick overview of how to use the manual pallet jack:

  • Start by identifying the release lever and using it to drop the prongs to the floor.
  • Be sure to stand out of the way where it won’t be hitting your legs or feet in the process.
  • You should get the prongs at the right height from the ground to have them ready for picking up the pallet.
  • Line up perfectly for safe collection and lift of the load.
  • After pushing the fork into the pallet, you can start the pumping action.
  • Pumping is done by pushing the stem down diagonally multiple times until you reach the height you need.
  • Once you have raised the pallet high enough, you can manoeuvre the same handle to turn in the direction you have to go.


Our Semi-Electric Unit

Boasting a bright yellow colour, the unit is sure to be visible when working in and around your warehouse. It also means you’ll be able to spot the machine quicker lest you forget where the unit has been parked.

It features an obvious red top button for easy location. With a weight capacity of more than a 1 000 kg, it can easily take on lift tasks, otherwise not possible through manual lifting. The unit and its forks are compact in design to ensure easy manoeuvring in small or narrow spaces.


Other Options

If you prefer a manual pallet jack, then have a look at the galvanised unit we stock. The compact design makes it possible to store it out of the way in your store when not in use. With exceptional load capacity, the unit is perfect for a parts store or vehicle workshop operation. It is powerful and has superb stability. You definitely won’t have a problem lifting loads in a workshop environment.

Another great option is our high-lift version, which can reach up to 80 cm. It has the same capacity as the first one mentioned, and also comes in the same vibrant colour. With a wider fork, it features a bigger platform for load collection and lifting. This type is well-suited for higher areas not reachable with a smaller unit. This pallet jack has an overall length of 1,7 metres.


Follow Safety Procedures When Using Pallet Jacks

Train your staff members in safety procedures to ensure nobody gets hurt during the operation of pallet jacks. Some safety considerations to keep in mind, include:

  • Always park the machine in an area where people don’t have to walk around it.
  • Park the machine with the prongs lowered.
  • When not in use, keep the handle upright so that workers cannot fall over it by accident.
  • Never load the jack with more than the manufacturer’s specifications for the maximum capacity.
  • Try not to manoeuvre over ramps when the jack is loaded.
  • Keep the prongs centre underneath the object so that it is well-balanced and does not slide off.
  • Check the stability of the load before proceeding to travel to your destination.
  • If possible, pull the manual pallet jack to move items as it offers better control and eliminates the possibility of hurting someone with the front bumping into them.
  • Rather push or pull the equipment slowly to your destination than rushing. It will take far longer to reload the objects if they fall than simply walking a bit slower.
  • Don’t allow staff to ride on the equipment unless it is a specific unit meant for ride-on operations.


To Conclude

Whether you decide on a fully electric, hand, or semi-electric pallet jack, it is sure to be a benefit to your business. As long as you know how to use the unit and do so safely, your operations can run smoothly. View our range of lift equipment and get in touch for help in choosing a unit that suits your operation needs.