Hand trucks offer a simple and convenient way to move loads. Also known as hand carts, they consist of an L-shaped frame with a flat base at the bottom and a pair of handles at the top. You can place a load on the flat base, after which you can grip the handles to move the hand truck. There are several essential safety tips you should follow, however, when using a hand truck.
#1) Push Forward
Always push hand trucks forward. Pulling a hand truck can prove problematic. For starters, you won’t be able to see where you are going, which can result in a trip-and-fall injury. Secondly, pulling a hand truck will place additional stress on your shoulders.
#2) Consider a Stair-Climbing Model
There are hand trucks designed specifically for stairs. Known as stair-climbing hand trucks, they simplify the process of hauling heavy loads up and down stairs. Stair-climbing hand trucks typically feature a set of three wheels on each side. With these wheel sets, you can easily push them up and down stairs.
#3) Don’t Exceed Load Capacity
While hand trucks are strong, they can only support so much weight. Exceeding the load capacity of a hand truck may result in the base of cracking, breaking or otherwise sustaining damage, which may then lead to injury. Some hand trucks have a load capacity of 500 pounds. Others have a load capacity of 1,000 or more pounds. Regardless, don’t exceed the load capacity when using a hand truck.
#4) Plan Route Beforehand
It’s a good idea to plan your route before using a hand truck. In other words, walk along the path where you intend to push the hand truck. Doing so will allow you to check for obstructions and hazards.
#5) Stack Heaviest Objects at the Bottom
Another safety tip is to stack the heaviest objects at the bottom of the hand truck. This will create a lower center of gravity. If you stack the heaviest object at the top, conversely, the hand truck will have a higher center of gravity, thus increasing the chance of it falling over when pushed.
#6) Maintain Wheels
Hand trucks wheels require maintenance. Depending on the type of hand truck, you may need to inflate them regularly. Even if the wheels are solid, you may need to oil or lubricate them. Refer to the owner’s manual for more information on how to maintain the wheels.