If you’re moving heavy loads around, it is safest and most efficient to use a sack truck. Most workplace injuries occur as the result of manual handling and it is equally important to take care when moving items around your personal storage unit.
While a sack truck is a much safer method of moving heavy loads than lifting by hand, it is still important to use the equipment correctly. To help you avoid injuries while storing heavy items, we’ve created this guide: how to use a sack truck.
The sack truck is a simple tool which does not require special training to operate. It works through leverage, lifting the weight of your load up off the ground by pushing down gently on the long handle. It requires minimal force from the user and reduces the need for bending your back when lifting, reducing the risk of injury dramatically.
The following is a quick safety checklist to run through before you start using the sack truck. Think of this as like checking your mirrors before you start driving your car, or measuring twice before you cut wood. If you only discover these parts are broken once you have loaded the sack truck and started moving things, you could risk breakages and personal injury.
Check that the wheels are large and sturdy enough for the terrain on which you are using the sack truck. If indoors and on a flat surface, there shouldn’t be many problems. The less even the ground is, the larger the wheels of your sack truck should be.
Sack truck brakes are usually a foot operated step-brake.
The toe is the flat plate onto which you can stack the load.
Once you have checked everything on this list, you know that the truck is in good working order and is safe to use.
Before you start using a sack truck, you also need to think through any risks you might encounter while moving about, to ensure you can transport the load safely. Plan the route you will take and assess what obstacles you might come up against.
Now you are ready to start loading your sack truck.
There are a few things to remember while loading a sack truck. It is important that the load is properly stacked to avoid accidents and injury.
First make sure your load does not exceed the weight limit specified on the sack truck. You may need to split the load and take two trips to be able to move it all safely. By attempting to move a load which is too heavy, you risk breaking the sack truck and injuring yourself.
Stack items with the heaviest at the bottom, and lighter items on top. This not only ensures that the lighter items are not crushed, but places the majority of the load close to the wheels, which are the fulcrum or turning point in the truck’s leverage, allowing you to use minimum force to lift the load.
Ensure items are stable. If items are unsteady, you might need to split the load and come back for some of it, or you can secure them to the sack truck with a restraint or buckled strap.
Make sure that you can see over and around the load, so that you can look out for any obstacles in your path.
Once you have loaded the sack truck safely, you are ready to move.
If you are struggling to move the sack truck with ease, check the weight limit once more and check that the wheels are fully inflated.
To move an object using a sack truck, the body force required is 2% of the load weight. For example, if the load is 250kg, a pushing force of 5kg is required behind the sack truck to move it. If the load is 100kg, a pushing force of 2kg is required. These forces are easily achieved simply by walking forwards with the sack truck in front of you.
However, the force required increases when you need to move up even a shallow slope, or if the truck is not well maintained. When the force required is high, enlist help to avoid personal injury.
If you need to push a load up a slope, the force required increases by a factor of . For example, if the slope is at an angle of just 5°, then the force required to move the same 250kg load becomes 18kg.
Moving a sack truck over soft or rough surfaces requires a greater pushing force than over a smooth floor. On an uneven surface, the force needed to begin pushing the load could be up to 10% of the load weight, or 25kg force for the same 250kg load. This might be overcome by using a sack truck with larger wheels, but you should get help and push with another person on these terrains to avoid injury.
Remember – you should always push a sack truck where possible to avoid strain on your back and shoulders. Always make sure you can see over the load to any obstacles.
Always lift by bending your knees, not your back.
When removing your load from the sack truck, it is important to lift with care to protect your back. Lift sacks, boxes or heavy items one at a time. Crouch down by bending your knees to grip the load, and keep your back straight as you push with your legs into standing position. By not lifting correctly, you risk lifelong injury.
Now that you know how to use a sack truck safely, you are ready to bring your heavy items into your storage unit or locker with ease. Apex Storage Solutions have a range of affordable storage options for personal and business use.