When it comes to manual handling equipment, everybody is familiar with forklifts and cranes. However, there are actually many more tools and machines that are frequently used in warehouse work. If you are starting a warehouse-based job or are starting manual handling equipment training then the below information will help you familiarise yourself with the equipment that you are likely to be using.
Sack trucks were made to move heavy items using a ledge on a pair of wheels. At the top of the sack truck is a handle that can be used to push the load and assist with turning. Like most types of manual handling equipment, sack trucks will not only reduce work-related injuries but also speed up time-consuming tasks.
Although these trucks are designed to carry heavy goods, the weight of said goods should be considered before buying a sack truck. In some cases, a standard sack truck will suffice to carry the goods. However, if your goods are exceptionally heavy, there are heavy-duty sack trucks which are robust and can easily carry any weight. The different types of sack trucks you can choose from include:
- Folding Sack Trucks – this equipment is made out of a lightweight aluminium frame and folds down for easy storage. They are perfect for small workplaces.
- Convertible Sack Trucks – these trucks are adjustable to handle loads in three positions: the classic sack truck; the platform trolley; 45-degree sack barrow.
- Stairclimber Sack Trucks – Designed to carry goods up steps. They have tyres in a star wheel configuration, ensuring there is always a wheel on the steps at one time.
Also known as a ‘pallet jack’ or ‘jigger’, a pallet truck is a tool designed to lift and move pallets in a retail or warehouse environment. These tools have existed since 1918, but back then they lifted pallets by using mechanical links. As technology has progressed, pallet trucks have evolved into using a hand-pumped hydraulic jack. The jack is steered by a lever which releases hydraulic fluid, allowing the forks to lower. There are three different types of pallet trucks:
- Manual Pallet Truck – These are the standard pallet trucks which are used in warehouse operations.
- Powered Pallet Truck – These trucks are motorised, which allows much heavier, stacked pallets to be lifted. They often contain a platform for the user to stand on and also use a dead man’s switch.
- Rough Terrain Pallet Truck – Made up of a heavy-duty frame and robust pneumatic tyres, these pallet jacks are made to be used on uneven grounds.
Electric tugs are an essential piece of handling and moving equipment, especially in warehouses. These battery-powered machines are manually operated and are used to lift, carry and transport weighty goods; reducing physical strain caused by repeatedly having to carry heavy goods.
Electric tugs can also be used to pull and push heavy loads which saves a lot of time, improving operational efficiency. When using an electric tug, extra care must be taken to make sure that risks are kept to a minimum. These machines can easily hurt the user or people around them if not used properly.
Used for low-level loads that would overhang a normal truck, dollies are small, sturdy boards on wheels that are raised only a few centimetres above the ground. Objects like grand pianos are far too heavy and big to be lifted onto standard manual handling equipment, but a dolly is a perfect solution for this.
Due to their robust nature and the fact they are virtually on the ground, heavy objects can be easily levered onto a dolly. Then, because of the wheels, the heavy load can be transported from A to B. These should only be used in spacious areas.