How To Operate A Manual Pallet Jack

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manual pallet jack

Are you using a manual pallet jack at work? Or employing anyone else to use one?

You might be using it in an industrial factory or a shop warehouse. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you know how to operate it safely.

There are many regulations which are designed to keep people safe at work, and best practice for use generally falls in line with these. So read on to find out how to operate a manual pallet jack.

What is a Manual Pallet Jack

For absolute beginners, it’s good to get an understanding of what a pallet jack is, and how it works in principle.

It’s a two-pronged device used to safely lift large loads and transport them to other places, all by hand. There’s no need for a motor, as the hydraulic jack pump will help you lift up heavy weights.

You can then pull the load across the floor.

Using a Pallet Jack: The Basics

You’ll see a handle on top of a pole, which is connected to a large caster wheel at the bottom. At a right angle from the caster, two prongs will stick out.

By using the release lever, which is most often attached to the handle, you can drop the prongs to the floor.

Then, once you’ve inserted them fully into the gaps in a loaded pallet, lift the prongs – and the pallet – back up using the handle. It’ll pump slowly up away from the floor.

Now you can tow that load wherever it needs to be.

The Dos and Don’ts


Do watch where you’re going at all times. Never maneuver the jack with one hand while texting, for example.

Do make sure the pallet is properly loaded, and set square onto the prongs – it shouldn’t be at an angle.

Do ensure that your route is clear before you try to take the load to its destination. If there are items in the way, remove them first.

Do take breaks while hauling if you need to. Don’t over-exert yourself, as this is when injuries commonly happen.


Don’t exceed the pallet jack’s safe load. You should learn how much it can safely transport and never go over this limit. You can hurt your back or damage the equipment.

Don’t try to do everything as fast as possible. Take your time – accidents happen when you’re hasty rather than rational.

Don’t try to haul the load through a ‘shortcut’ that hasn’t been designated as a safe pallet jack route. If people aren’t expecting you to come around the corner with this equipment they might walk straight into the moving load.

Look After Yourself and Learn More

So there you have it. Take good care of yourself.

80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives – don’t become one of them!

If you want to learn more about how manual pallet jacks can make your working life easier, and your company more efficient, read our blog.

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