How to Safely Operate a Manual Pallet Jack

How to Safely Operate a Manual Pallet Jack

A manual pallet jack is one of the most essential pieces of equipment in material handling and logistics. They work with a hydraulic pump, steer wheels, and two forks to maneuver loads from place to place.

Implementing safety protocols and providing training on manual pallet jacks will save your company money in the long run.


A manual pallet jack is a mobile, hand-powered machine that can lift and maneuver heavy loads of materials in warehouses. While these machines can be used in a variety of applications, they are especially useful for situations where an electric pallet jack or a traditional forklift is not necessary or available. MHA offers a wide range of hand pallet jacks with varying capacities.

When you need to move a load, start by positioning the pallet jack with the prongs facing toward the desired destination. Then, find the plastic release lever on the metal steering handle. It is usually attached to the center bar and may be a different color than the handle, in order to make it easier to identify. Once you’ve found the release lever, push it down to lower the forks.

Once the forks are lowered, it’s important to be careful not to crush or scrape anything underneath them. Make sure the prongs are at least one inch off the ground, and that they’re not touching any walls or other objects. It’s also helpful to move the load slowly and carefully, so that you don’t tip the jack over.

Remember to wear appropriate footwear while operating a pallet jack. Long pants, steel-toed boots, or work gloves will help reduce the risk of crushed toes, scraped knuckles, and other injuries.


A manual pallet jack is designed to efficiently transport rough wooden platforms known as skids or pallets. They can be used to move goods across a facility’s warehouse floor or into a retail stockroom. Despite their basic design, these machines can be quite challenging to operate. Fortunately, there are some key things to keep in mind to avoid common mistakes that can lead to injuries.

First, always check the weight capacity of your equipment before using it. Make sure that any loads you transport don’t exceed the maximum manual pallet jack weight limit, and that the load is properly secured to the pallet jack. Also, ensure that your pathway is clear of any obstructions that can cause the machine to tip or go off track.

In addition, always remember to use the control lever or handle in a pumping motion when moving the jack. Pushing instead of pulling will reduce strain on the operator’s back, as well as help you navigate tight spaces more easily.

Finally, be sure to read any manuals or other operator documents that come with your specific model of manual pallet jack. They will provide important details about its unique features and capabilities, which can help you determine whether or not it’s a good fit for your material handling needs. Choosing the right piece of equipment can help you reduce downtime and cut costs by making your warehouse operations more efficient.


In some industrial facilities, manual pallet jacks are a staple in material handling. However, these devices require regular maintenance to work correctly. This can include cleaning, inspection, and lubrication of the wheels. Performing these simple tasks can improve worker safety, reduce downtime, and prolong the lifespan of the pallet jack/truck.

During normal operation, the operator pumps the handle up and down to move the pallet jack forward and backward. This action moves the hydraulic pump piston, causing the linkages that are connected to the load wheels to articulate. The articulation causes the wheels to rise, lifting the load and the forks.

The pallet jack is a versatile tool that can lift, transport, and maneuver loads. It is a great option for warehouses, grocery stores, retail establishments, and institutional facilities. It is less expensive than a forklift or other powered equipment, but it has its limitations.

Before operating a manual pallet jack, employees should inspect the device to ensure that it is in good working order. In addition, they should review any documentation that comes with the specific make and model of the equipment. These documents can provide information on unique components or capabilities that may not be obvious to employees who are familiar with the general design of pallet jacks/trucks. They should also wear appropriate safety equipment, including gloves and steel-toed shoes.


Manual pallet jacks offer many capabilities, but manual pallet jack they come with unique hazards in certain work situations. Understanding these pitfalls, along with safe operating procedures and “rules of the road,” can help companies avoid injuries and damage to merchandise.

MARCOM’s adaptive learning course on Manual Pallet Jack Safety provides detailed information about the hazards associated with this equipment and explains how to avoid them. Among other things, the course covers how to properly inspect and test a pallet jack before each shift (including checking all controls and ensuring brakes work), planning a route ahead of time, and avoiding tripping and other pedestrian-related accidents.

To prevent injury, never raise a load higher than necessary with a manual pallet jack. Doing so could result in tipping and other structural problems, or even a loss of merchandise. Also, use both hands on the handle when pushing a load to avoid muscle strains. Finally, always steer a load away from aisles and walkways to avoid tripping or running over pedestrians. Likewise, avoid reaching between the load and the forks or between the jack and its wheels to avoid pinch points that can bend or break the pallet jack. For additional safety tips, review the pallet jack’s load capacity rating and stay clear of slopes and inclines.