Anyone working in the logistics industry will at some point need to learn how to operate an electric pallet truck. It would be ideal if it was as simple as learning to ride a bike. But alas, there are a few electric pallet truck training requirements to get your head around, from loading and manoeuvres to the certificates you’ll need. This guide will help you avoid any trial and error along the way.
How do you use an electric pallet truck?
The pallet truck, also called a pallet jack, is the most basic form of a forklift when shifting pallets around a warehouse. It is typically powered by a battery pack which can operate for several hours before requiring a charge. There are many electric pallet truck training requirements but some key points you should be aware of include:
- Ensure the forks are at their lowest position before usage.
- Always walk with the truck beside you or pulling it behind you.
- Use the controller to shift or twist the truck in your desired direction.
- Ensure that the vehicle is plugged into a charging port at the end of the day.
If at any point in your job you need to operate a pallet truck, you MUST have the right training and it is your employer’s responsibility to provide this. What this training covers will depend on where you are in the world when you are learning these skills.
If you’re looking at operating an electric pallet truck, you need to be physically and mentally fit for the role. The physical aspect comes from managing heavy stacks and the mental aspect because the tasks require a lot of focus on your part. If you have any ongoing medical conditions such as asthma or a heart condition, you may not be considered the most viable candidate due to the enhanced risks to your health.
Although there is no experience limit to taking the test, you will find yourself in higher standing with a trainer if you have been able to demonstrate an aptitude in other aspects of your job rather than taking on a load that could be too much for you.
As with any warehouse equipment, safety should be your top priority and the main reason why you should be considering the training. You will have likely been briefed on health and safety procedures once you started your current job.
Make sure you are aware of the truck’s maximum lifting capacity. This should be printed either on the truck itself or available as part of a manifesto. The training will take you through how much certain models can lift. A small bit of advice is when loading NOT to push it to the maximum limit. Always keep it under.
Loading and stacking – If you’re familiar with the trappings of a warehouse, you’ll also be familiar with the loading and stacking of packages. Much of what will be covered in the training is an advancement of what you’ll have already worked with; maintaining the safety and security of packages and making sure you don’t endanger yourself.
Manoeuvering – You’re going to be managing a heavy load and navigating it around the warehouse, but because you’re not dealing with a manual pallet truck, the motor will do a lot of the work, meaning you’re less likely to incur a strain-related injury. Yet you still need to make sure the heavier loads you take on don’t collide with anything or anyone else on the warehouse floor.
Manual handling – Both employers and trainers will need to get a sense of how you fare with manual handling responsibility before taking on equipment. Part of this experience can be obtained from handling a manual pallet truck.
Before you begin operating the pallet truck, these are the routine checks you need to carry out:
- Scratches or cracks
- Oil leakage from the cylinder
- The smooth movement and grip of the wheels
- The emergency brake operating without hindrance
- The lifting and lowering functions via the controls
- All nuts and bolts are firmly tightened
- Any broken hoses or exposed electric wires
Should you see any of these things, you need to alert your supervisor and ensure no one else operates the pallet truck until repairs have been carried out. The trainer will go over these with you during the training but think about the safety checks you are already obliged to carry out and how they could carry over to this role.
Other safety issues to consider
Remember that because electric pallet tricks can stack taller and heavier stacks of pallet, you will have a lot of difficulties stopping the truck on short notice. They can also lift much greater loads while taking much of the physical responsibility away from the handler. Various electric pallet trucks come in various formats such as starter models, stand-ons, and sideways-seated. Before booking yourself on a course, get a sense of what electric pallet truck is used within your warehouse and find a course that can give you training on that particular model.
Do you need a license for an electric pallet truck?
You don’t necessarily require a driver’s license to operate a pallet. But you will be required to have certification to operate electric pallet trucks depending on where you are based. In the US, OSHA doesn’t require or have a standard certification but instead asks companies using electric pallet trucks to have a certification program in place for its workers. The individual certification will come upon completion of the course. Though for some courses, this may come with an expiry date so you may find you need to take a course at a later date.
The courses will primarily be about how to avoid the risks that come with operating an electric pallet truck, such as making sure the stacked items are secure and that you have a clear pathway to wherever you need to go. But they will also provide the necessary training for those rarest of occasions when you are involved in an accident.
Types of courses
There are various courses offered at varying levels. Perhaps you’re a novice who is looking to use an electric pallet truck for the first time. Or maybe you have used a forklift truck before, but your experience is limited and you want to get the full scope. Or you could be an experienced professional who has worked in the logistics sector for years and wants to add an electric pallet truck to your list of ‘machinery I can operate’. Or perhaps you’re an experienced professional who wants to receive some updated training.
If you’re looking at making warehouse life easier for yourself, then electric pallet truck training is something you can’t live without.
Find out more about the best electric pallet truck for your business by contacting us today.