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Ohio State University Extension


Safe Use Of Hand Pallet Trucks

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To be able to safely use hand pallet trucks in the work place.

Trainer’s Note

Review the session and become familiar with the points that pertain to your workplace. Briefly review the operating instructions for hand pallet trucks with the group. Ask an experienced worker to demonstration working with a hand pallet truck. Discuss hand pallet truck injuries and prevention strategies. Use incidents and past injuries to stress the importance of safe operation. Review the true or false quiz.


  • Moving materials with a hand pallet truck may seem easy, but safe handling requires skill.
  • Raise the forks by pushing the actuating lever down and pumping the handle. This is only time the handle should be down—to jack the pallet. A 1-inch clearance between the floor and pallet is usually sufficient.
  • Put the actuating lever in a neutral or middle position to move the load. This position disengages the lifting mechanism and frees the handle from hydraulic resistance, but keeps the forks raised. When the lever is released, it will automatically return to the neutral position.

For Safe Operation:Illustration of a hand pallet truck.

  • Avoid moving loads up or down ramps.
  • Do not carry riders on the truck.
  • Center the forks evenly under the load to maintain good balance.
  • Avoid overloading the truck.
  • Ensure the stability of the load.
  • Use both forks for lifting a load.
  • Pull rather than push loads for increased maneuverability.
  • Maneuvering loads using the neutral position reduces operator fatigue.
  • Operate at a controllable speed, since hand pallet trucks do not have brakes.
  • Park the pallet truck out of traffic areas in a safe, level place with the forks lowered.
  • The handle should be left in the up position to eliminate tripping hazards.
  • Wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE): heavy gloves, safety glasses, steel-toed footwear, and avoid wet and greasy hands or footwear.

Review The Following Points

  • Maneuvering loads in the neutral position reduces operator fatigue.
  • Keep pallet trucks out of traffic areas when forks are lowered.
  • Never use one fork to lift a load.
  • No riders on the pallet truck.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. F
  2. F
  3. T
  4. T
  5. T

Quiz: Safe Use Of Hand Pallet Trucks



True or False?    

1. Push the load.  T F
2. Carry as much as the truck will hold. T F
3. Pallet trucks do not have brakes.  T F
4. A clearance of 1 inch between the floor and pallet is usually sufficient. T F
5. Operate the hand pallet truck at a safe speed to avoid injuries.     T F








Originally posted Sep 3, 2019.