Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dangers Posed When Handling Freight with an Apparently Innocuous Piece of Equipment

Less Than Half of Senior Supply Chain Staff Surveyed Know How to Safely Manage a Load with a Hand Pallet Truck!
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Compared to the obvious dangers of moving freight with a fork lift the innocuous hand pallet truck seems a comparatively benign instrument, unlikely to cause any injury to the operator. However as the accompanying short video demonstrates, this can be very far from the truth when the operator concerned is untrained and shows a basic lack of understanding of the potential dangers.

From the example shown, to the simplest mistake such as running over a foot, an average of 4,500 injuries involving hand trucks, pallet trucks and similar handling aids, such as wheel barrows and trolleys, are reported every year in the UK alone and now Mentor Training in cooperation with the Fork Lift Truck Association, has devised what the company describes as the UK’s largest online fork lift hazard perception test which showed that more than half of the 1300 managers, supervisors, operators and pedestrians that took part didn’t identify incorrect operation of a hand pallet truck as a hazard.

In Britain Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) requires that those operating any type of work equipment should be trained to use it, to understand the risks involved and to take the necessary precautions. It also specifies that supervisors and managers should receive similar training.

Surprisingly more than half of professionals realised the dangers posed by incorrect use of the equipment with Mentor’s hazard perception test highlighting one of the most common errors surrounding this type of equipment: pushing rather than pulling a hand pallet truck. The truck should be pulled with one hand while the operator faces the direction of travel, to ensure visibility and control are maintained. Results show only 42% of managers and supervisors identified incorrect use of these machines as a risk factor. Andy Cartwright, Mentor’s Technical Manager commented:

“Businesses shouldn’t disregard these pieces of equipment as harmless when budgeting for training. Although they are much less complex and powerful than other materials handling equipment, accidents are common. Operators using them incorrectly often experience bruised and fractured lower limbs and musculoskeletal injuries. Remember - there’s a reason why hand pallet trucks are covered by the same legal requirement as forklifts for safety training.”