Material Handling- Hand Truck Safety


Hand trucks are effective for reducing strain while moving heavy materials. However, injury can still occur. Use the following tips to prevent strains, trips and falls when using a hand truck.

Lifting practices:

  • Load and unload the hand truck carefully, following proper lifting technique.
  • Always keep your back straight while lifting.
  • Get help if the load is too bulky for proper lifting techniques to work or if the load cannot be handled safely for any reason.

Before moving a load:

  • Prepare the path.
    • Inspect and clear your path for ease of movement.
    • Use ramps if the path has stairs or curbs.
    • Measure openings to be sure that there is enough space.
    • Clear the set point.
  • Ensure that you have a good view of your path. The load should not be so tall that it obscures your vision.
  • Put the heaviest part of the load on the bottom of the hand truck.
  • Secure the load as needed, and ensure that the straps are tight.
  • Inspect equipment before use.
  • Check the tire pressure. Balloon-type tires are more prone to losing pressure, adding strain on the person pushing the hand truck.

Using the hand truck:

  • Grip the hand truck firmly. Push with a straight back, leaning into your walk.
  • Walk forwards, unless you are trapped in a tight space.
  • Push or pull loads with both hands.
  • Tilting the truck back enables you to push the load uphill more easily, but be aware that this action increases the overall weight that you are carrying.

General safety:

  • Ensure that you are trained and authorized for work.
  • Wear supportive, closed toe, and non-slip shoes.

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