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Tips on Using Hand Trucks, Carts and Dollies Properly

Back injuries are a common problem caused by carrying or moving loads. While using delivery trucks can make the task easier and faster, it becomes impractical when loads just have to be transported a short distance.

This is where material handling carts and equipment come into the picture. With these tools, workers can transport light or heavy loads faster, without worrying about back injuries or gas consumption.

Safety Measures

As with carrying loads by hand and with vehicles, handling loads with hand trucks, carts and dollies can pose hazards if they are not used properly. Avoid accidents by following these safety tips:

  • Use the two-wheel hand truck only when handling light loads. Always use the four-wheel hand truck for heavy loads.
  • Always make sure the weight is evenly distributed on all wheels of a hand truck, cart or dolly, especially with four-wheeled hand trucks with side railings.
  • (Hand Trucks) Before use, inspect center ladder section, cross bars and vertical bar for cracks and other defects/damage.
  • Check all welds before moving loads.
  • Never pull a cart, dolly, or hand truck. Always push it when moving loads.
  • Never try to upend four-wheeled hand trucks.
  • As much as possible, break down large loads into smaller ones.
  • Secure loads with heavy-duty nylon belts. Inspect these belts before use to make sure they are not frayed, worn-out or damaged.
  • (Appliance Dollies) Always use a ratchet belt tightener with auto rewind to keep loads from shifting or slipping.
  • When climbing or descending stairs, always use stair crawlers.
  • When raising or lowering a load, never use your back. Instead, make use of the mechanical or hydraulic lifting mechanisms of the tool.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Even with a dolly, cart or hand truck, you are not protected from other hazards that a load may pose, as well as some conditions in the work area that may cause accidents. Here are some suggested PPE for different situations:

  1. Leather gloves

You may need this when handling large heavy objects/materials with rough or sharp edges.

  1. Back belt

This is helpful in supporting your lower back while pushing dollies, carts or hand trucks with loads. Make sure to wear it on your lower back.

  1. Protective footwear

You might need this PPE when your work area exposes you to foot injuries like falling/rolling objects or pointed materials that can pierce the sole.

  1. Special boots, shoes or foot guards

You may need special designs of footwear when there are slip or trip hazards in the worksite. Examples of this footwear are non-skid soles and steel-toed boots.

Review these techniques and tip at your next safety meeting to keep your employees safe in your facility and working at full capacity.



Jef Spencer

HFA Operations

Promote Workplace Safety with These Truck Loading/Unloading Tactics

There are so many things to be aware of when loading and unloading a truck many people don’t know or chose to ignore. From 2005-2010 in Washington State alone, there were 12 fatalities due to truck loading/unloading.

Workplace injuries and even fatalities are 100% preventable by implementing the following safety truck loading and unloading techniques:

  1. Be Aware Of Trucks Backing Into The Loading Zone

Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when giant trucks are involved. If a truck is backing up, get away from the loading zone as it is very hard for the driver to see behind the truck and he could easily back into you. Wait until the truck has come to a complete stop to venture into the loading zone. You might think that this is silly, but it happens more often then you think. That’s why people sometimes get a lawyer who specialises in this sort of thing such as these Truck accident lawyers in Florence, SC. If you are ever in this situation, then hopefully they can get you the compensation that you deserve.

  1. Be Sure All Loads Are Properly Secure

All objects in a truck need to be secured before hitting the road. If they are not secure, it could lead to broken objects in the truck. This environment creates a lot of workplace safety hazards with truck unloading. Be certain your loads are secure by using load bars, vertical supports and road straps.

  1. Stay Clear Of The Loading Zone While Machines Are In Use

When you are on foot near or in the truck-loading zone, you need to get out of the way while machines are loading/unloading the truck. Machines are unpredictable sometimes and you never know if one could malfunction, causing workplace injuries or fatalities. It’s best to stay clear in case anything does go wrong.

  1. Protect All Gaps And Drop Offs In Truck Loading Zones

When you are loading and unloading a truck, it can be difficult to see exactly where you are stepping. So, if there is a gap or drop off, you most likely won’t be able to see it, which creates the risk of a fall injury. You need to protect all of these gaps and drop offs before you start truck loading and unloading. This way, you are able to walk with confidence, knowing you won’t fall. But it can be different with different types of trucks. A friend works with tatra style trucks and because of their fluid design you have to be aware of a different gaps to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.

  1. Use Proper Lifting Techniques

Using the proper lifting technique prevents workplace accidents and injuries. Rather than bending over and creating unneeded stress on your back, simply bend your knees and go down to pick up the object. This also makes the object much easier to carry. Another tip is to keep the object close to you, which gives you more control over it and limits the chance of dropping it. If you do happen to get involved in a truck accident, contact North Carolina truck accident lawyer for some legal advice and help.

There are many things to keep in mind when you are loading/unloading a truck. But if you practice these simple workplace safety techniques, you and your employees are able to completely prevent accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

Source: Arbill Safety Blog



Jef Spencer

HFA Operations


Identify Workplace Hazards w/ OSHA-Compliant Signs & Labels!

According to OSHA’s Specifications for Accident Prevention (29 CFR 1910.145), employers must indicate and define potential hazards around the workplace. Safety signs and labels are easy and effective ways to communicate warnings and comply with OSHA standards. Here are the top five common workplace safety signs and labels that will help you comply with OSHA regulations:


Exit Route Signs

Place Exit Route Signs along pathways leading to exits and post directional evacuation markings every 100 feet.


Fire Safety Signs

Make sure fire extinguishers are present and clearly marked by posting Signs.


Electrical Hazard Signs & Labels

Warn employees about electrical hazards with conspicuous Warning Signs and Labels.


Machine Safety Labels

Ensure machine operators (and other employees in the area) know about various equipment hazards through the use of Machine Safety Labels.


Confined Space Signs

Utilize Confined Space Signs to warn workers about dangers posed by permit-required confined spaces.





Jef Spencer

HFA Operations

Are Your Traffic Signs Compliant With the MUTCD?

Traffic and Parking Signs increase safety, prevent accidents and can be used to post policies on roadways and parking lots. The 2009 revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) require that Traffic Signs everywhere, including those on private roads open to the public, adhere to MUTCD standards. In fact, there are five basic requirements for every traffic control. Each must:

1. Fulfill a need.
2. Command attention.
3. Convey a clear, simple meaning.
4. Command respect from road users.
5. Give adequate time for proper response.


Contact the HFA staff for more information on to keep your parking lots and roadways safe, compliant and efficient.


For more information, call (800) 422-3778, Option 2.


Jef Spencer

HFA Operations

5 Things to Inspect When Buying a Used Forklift

So your operation has grown to needing a forklift, or another forklift and you’re looking for a forklift for sale. Buying new may be out of your budget and it’s time to consider the used forklift market. But where do you start? If you are planning to buy a forklift, there are many options to consider. Should you purchase an electric, a diesel, an LPG or a dual fuel powered forklift? Will you need non-marking rubber tires for your shop or a rough terrain forklift truck to handle the parking lot? Once you’ve decided on the forklift fuel type and lifting capacity, begin your search for unused and used forklifts with a local supplier or national equipment retailer. When you find forklifts that interest you, test and inspect the forklift in person. Here are some things to look for.

Forks and Mast

Begin your inspection facing the front of the forklift. Check the forks for any cracks, bends or other types of distortion possibly caused by overloading. For minor bends, consider having the forks straightened. Be wary of any cracks in the forks. Large, deep cracks can make it unsafe for a forklift to lift a load at full capacity. As you inspect the forks, check fork heels for signs of wear. The thickness of heel forks should closely match the thickness of the upright fork shank (the part of the fork secured to the hanger). Inspect mast for any cracks or welds, and then ensure that the mast pins and tilt and side-shift cylinders are secure, Check cylinders for any signs of leaks.

Mast rails, lift chains and cylinders

From the forks, continue your forklift inspection by looking at the mast rails, again checking for any cracks or welds that could affect the mast structural integrity. Look for signs of excessive wear on mast rollers – such as a compressed oval shape rather than a round shape. After inspecting the rollers, follow the length of the lift chains, noting any damaged/missing links or anchor pins. Inspect the hoses running parallel to the chains for any indication of leaking hydraulic fluid. Check both hoses and lift chains for equal tension distribution as well. Follow the length of chains and hoses to the tilt cylinders attached to the forklift carriage, again looking for any signs of damage or leaks and for missing or insecure bolts.

Frame, cowling and canopy

Walk around the forklift and check the body for any signs of damage, pausing on both sides of the forklift to inspect the cowling as well. Check the canopy main supports for any bends or damage that could affect the canopy’s ability to protect an operator in the event of a dropped load or rollover. Remember to check the integrity of side screens. If the forklift features an enclosed cab, make sure there are no missing or damaged windows. Look at the chassis, paying close attention to any welds, cracks or signs of repair or modifications. Finish the body/frame inspection by checking the tires for chunking (missing rubber) and the wheels for missing lug nuts.

Cab and general operation

Step into the forklift operator’s seat and fasten the seatbelt. Note whether the seat is securely fixed into position and the condition of the seatbelt. Start up the forklift and listen for any odd sounds coming from the engine compartment. Check the hydraulic levers – lift and lower the loader arms, tilt arms back and forwards, and finally side shift the arms left and right. Check for smooth operation as you operate the loader arms and as you tilt, pivot and run the mast through its various stages. Drive the forklift forwards and backwards and in a figure eight pattern, stopping and starting in order to test the responsiveness of steering and braking. Check all other controls and safety devices for operation, including rear back-up alarm and flood lights – if included. Review the load capacity noted on the rating placard and compare to the maximum weight requirements you need. When operating any kind of machinery training is needed to prevent accidents between the machine and the workers. If not, accidents could happen that would result in serious injury or worse. Sometimes these injuries could render workers unable to work indefinitely, leaving them with the stress of not only recovery but also the weight of finances since they may be unable to work or might have to deal with a mountain for any medical bills. If you find yourself in such a situation, it might be worth talking to law firm similar to thisThe Champion Firm, P.C to ask any question on how they might be able to help relieve the stress of a workplace injury.

Engine compartment, exhaust guard and counterweights

After running the forklift, open the engine compartment and check for any leaks, dirt buildup or cracks on hoses. Check the oil, note the level of the oil on the dipstick, and also look at the condition of the oil. Check that belts are tight and not worn or cracked. Inspect the air filter and make sure it is clean. If you are inspecting an electric forklift, check that all battery connections are in good condition. If the machine is propane-powered, check integrity of tank brackets and bolts once you’ve finished your engine compartment inspection. Move to the rear of the forklift and look at the exhaust guard, noting and damage. Also check that the counterweight bolts are securely in place.

Once you’ve completed your visual and functional inspection, make note of any extra features, such as fork positioners, side shift or a free full lift mast. You may also ask to view the forklift’s service record or work orders. Unless you are very experienced and know what to look for when inspecting a forklift, have a qualified mechanic or knowledgeable operator carry out the inspection. Buying a used forklift will be easier on your budget if you know what to look for to avoid costly repairs down the line. In the end, it might be a better idea to forklift hire in Melbourne. My friend tells me they have some fantastic forklifts to rent out.

Source: Ritchie Bros Auctioneers

Jef Spencer

HFA Operations

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