Pallets, being essential for the global transport of nearly everything, are very useful items. However, it is important to acknowledge that the careful use and handling of pallets should be a priority for all businesses whose employees work with them because manual pallet handling injuries are very common.
Earlier in January the results of a forklift handling perception test conducted online in Britain highlighted the potential for this kind of injury. Frequently, when discussing pallet safety and measures taken to limit employee onsite injuries, we emphasize forklift safety. However, many pallet-related injuries occur in conjunction with hand trucks, pallet trucks, wheelbarrows, and other manual handling aids, and these are just as concerning.
While forklift injuries have the possibility to be more medically devastating because motorized equipment can involve more speed and force, serious injury is still possible with all types of manual equipment including bruises, fractures, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Unfortunately, workers of all types, from floor to management, failed to assess this risk when surveyed.
While laws require businesses to train their workers in the use of manual pallet trucks, just as with forklift safety training, the workers using pallet trucks do not see them as involving the same level of danger – an oversight that often leaves them open to injury. One of the most common practices is a failure to operate hand trucks and other manual machinery according to guidelines for best use, for instance, pushing manual pallet trucks that are designed to be pulled.
Since there are so many types of manual equipment used to move pallets and products in use by businesses today, there is no single type of safety precaution to give, except to repeat the importance of regular staff training in all types of equipment and monitoring of conditions on the work floor including assessments of injuries sustained. If your business isn’t consulting with its employees about what they are observing regarding pallet safety practice amongst themselves, you do not have all the information you need to limit further accidents.
All pallet handling equipment exists to make the transportation of materials easier and more manageable for workers. Without this equipment far more injuries would exist from overexertion and risk taking. But assuming that well designed equipment is safe to use under all circumstances is dangerous – and unfortunately common among a large percentage of workers today.
Kamps is committed to improving safety in all of our facilities and to making 2015 the safest year for our workers yet.