What Does Hand Truck Mean?
A hand truck is an L-shaped wheeled handcart with a ledge or nose-plate that rests flat against the ground when it stands in an upright position. It is a convenient way to move heavy, tall, or stackable objects over short distances.
Hand trucks are also known by various other names, including trolley, sack barrow, stack truck, trundle, and box cart.
While similar, hand trucks differ from dollies. Instead of a nose-plate, a dolly has a raised platform that keeps items off the ground. Unlike a hand truck, items need to be manually lifted and placed onto the dolly.
Safeopedia Explains Hand Truck
A hand truck is operated manually and allows users to more easily lift and carry large or heavy objects by:
- Sliding the ledge underneath the object
- Tilting the frame of the hand truck back toward the user
- Balancing the load over the wheels
Hand trucks are a common feature in warehouses, kept in the back of trucks for loading and unloading, and used for moving heavy containers.
They can also be used to move stacks of small, light items, minimizing the number of trips required to carry them.
Safe Use of Hand Trucks
Hand trucks not only improve productivity and efficiency, but are also an important piece of safety equipment. Carrying bulky or heavy objects with a hand truck can prevent back injuries as well as reduce muscle strain and exhaustion.
Hand trucks still carry some risks, however. Workers must follow some basic safety procedures when using them, including:
- Not exceeding the load capacity of the hand truck
- Making sure stacked items do not obstruct the user's vision
- Stacking smartly (with larger, heavier items at the bottom)
- Using straps or ropes to secure objects that don't feel stable when carried on the hand truck
- Avoiding running or walking quickly while using the hand truck
- Inspecting the hand truck's wheels regularly
Although the hand truck is designed to be used by a single person, it is sometimes safer to enlist the help of others. Another person can act as a spotter to ensure that the load stays in place while it is being moved, as a guide to make sure that the user is avoiding any potential obstructions, or to hold the load to keep it stable.
Before moving something with a hand truck, it is also a good idea to inspect the area to make sure that there are no slipping or tripping hazards.
And while hand trucks make it easier to handle heavy items, it can still be a physically challenging task, especially when moving a series of loads. Take breaks when needed to avoid overexertion.