Using a hand truck is an effective way to reduce your risk of injuries, compared to carrying items manually. However, if you use a hand truck incorrectly, you may increase your risk of injury. To protect your body, keep these best practices in mind when using a hand truck.
1. Don't overload the hand truck
A hand truck provides you with leverage that allows you to move much more than you could on your own, but you still need to use your strength to move a hand truck. Pay attention to your body's response to different weights on the hand truck and take care not to overload it.
2. Keep your back straight
If you're arching your lower back to try to get extra power behind your hand truck, that's a sign that you may be overloaded. Reduce the weight on the hand truck and try again. If your back is still arching, you may simply be striking the wrong pose.
Try to keep your back in alignment and focus on using your core muscles rather than your lower back muscles. If necessary, consider wearing a lifting belt. This will help to keep your body straight so that you avoid injuries.
3. Inflate the tires
If your hand truck has inflatable tires, make sure they are inflated to the optimal level. Flat tires don't provide the support you need, and they make it harder to push the hand truck.
4. Avoid twisting and reaching when loading and unloading
Typically, when you load and unload a hand truck, you're only moving a single box or item at a time. Don't rush through this process. Take time to identify the optimal parking spot for the hand truck so that you can easily load it with a minimal amount of twisting.
Twisting can put unnecessary strain on your back. If you cannot get the hand truck close enough to the shelves or other unloading areas, you may want to get multiple people involved. One person can unload the hand truck. Then, they can hand the items to the next person. With the right positioning, you can avoid twisting.
Similarly, don't load or unload onto areas that are too high. Reaching over your head with heavy weights can also place unnecessary strain on your back.
5. Consider ergonomics when setting up your work area
Whether you're using a hand truck in a receiving department, a factory, or another space, set up the area to support ergonomics. Think about the flow that will happen when you're loading or unloading hand trucks. Then, make adjustments as needed to protect workers.
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