How to Use a Pallet Jack

How to Use a Pallet Jack

Although pallet jacks are common tools found on construction sites or warehouses, it's crucial to know how to use them properly before bringing one to your job. Read our guide to learn the basic steps for using manual and electric pallet jacks.

Pallet Jack Applications

While the first place you might think of when using a pallet jack is a warehouse, these tools have many other applications, including construction and home renovations. Their primary purpose is to lift and move materials over short distances, making them valuable on many job sites. You can rent either a manual or an electric pallet jack to suit your needs.

How to Operate a Pallet Jack Manually

If you plan to use a manual pallet jack at your warehouse or job site, here is how to do it:

1. Release Lever

Place your hands on the steering handle and find the release lever, usually on the vertical bar in the center. Take the pallet jack wherever you need to load your materials and use the lever to lower the prongs. Most of the time, you'll move the prongs to about 1 inch from the ground.

2. Move Prongs Under the Pallet

Slide the prongs under your pallet, pushing it through to the other side to ensure the wheels are free.

3. Raise the Pallet

When you are ready, pull the handle several times to raise the prongs from the floor. Ensure it is high enough that the platform will not drag when moved. Now you are ready to take your pallet to another location.

Directions for Using an Electric Pallet Jack

Electric pallet jacks are easier to use because they don't require manual effort to raise the prongs. Several types of electric models have a ride-on feature as well, which simplifies the process.

1. Unplug From the Charger

First, you'll need to unplug the charging cord from your electric pallet jack. Place it in the storage location on the equipment.

2. Lower the Prongs

Use the controls on the handle to lower the prongs. Like a manual pallet jack, keep the prongs 1 or 2 inches from the ground.

3. Load Your Pallet

Use the controls to move the pallet jack to the items you need to load. Take the jack all the way under the pallet, then press the “up” button to raise the prongs.

4. Move the Load

Use the controls to take your pallet to your desired destination. Press the “down” control to lower the pallet to the floor when you are ready to unload.

5. Recharge the Pallet Jack

After you're done using the electric pallet jack, take it to the charging area and remove the cord from its storage point. Plug the equipment in so it charges until the next time you need to use it.

Additional Information

Whether you are using a manual or an electric pallet jack, you should always take safety precautions to ensure proper use. Some of our top suggestions include:

  • Ensure a clear path: Check the route you plan to travel with your load to ensure it is free from debris and obstacles, including cords or construction materials.
  • Inspect equipment before using: Before operating the pallet jack, confirm that it is ready. A quick inspection can help you detect problems like unbalanced wheels, dangling charging cords or loose prongs.
  • Use a secure area for storage: No matter where you are using pallet jacks, it's always a good idea to store them out of the way of nonemployees and safely off the job site when not in use.
  • Restrict machine access: Ensure only authorized personnel can access and operate the pallet jack. If able, you could set up a security code only authorized individuals know. If that's not possible, a sign-out sheet for the equipment can help you monitor who is using it and when.

Remember that workers must be certified to use pallet jacks. When operated correctly, these tools make it easy to transport heavy materials and other challenging burdens.

Rent a Pallet Jack Today

If you need pallet jacks for your operation, The Cat® Rental Store is here to help. Cat dealers provide high-quality, durable equipment you can use for numerous warehouse or construction applications. Whether you want to try them out before making a full investment or only need them for specific projects, our rental options are ready to work for you.

Your local Cat dealer will be your full-service partner for sourcing quality rental pallet jacks and other equipment. Browse our rental options today or contact us for a quote to get started!

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