When moving goods from one place to another, hand trucks and dollies are the unsung heroes in many industries, from retail to logistics. They make transporting loads easier and more efficient. However, if they are not used correctly, they can also pose safety hazards. Here's an in-depth guide on safety precautions to ensure a safe experience every time you use these tools. 


Understanding Hand Trucks and Dollies 

Before diving into safety precautions, it's essential to know the difference between the two: 

- Hand Trucks: These are typically L-shaped, with handles at one end, wheels at the base, and a small platform on which to set the objects. 

-Dollies: These are flat platforms, often with four wheels, and are most often used to transport heavier or bulkier items.


1. Stick to the Weight Limit 

Every hand truck and dolly has a specified maximum load capacity and it is essential to abide by it. Overloading beyond the manufacturer's guidelines can strain the equipment and make it unstable. 


2. Proper Loading is Key 

Load distribution is crucial to maintaining balance. To ensure your items are loaded correctly you should position the heavier items at the bottom, ensure the load is stable before moving and for tall items in particular, you should tilt the hand truck back slightly, to ensure it is well-balanced. 


3. Footwear Matters 

Good grip and stability start from the ground up which is why it is essential to wear the correct footwear when using hand trucks and dollies. Shoes with non-slip soles are fine, however, for an added layer of protection you should always choose to wear steel-toed boots to protect against any falling objects.


4. Push, Don't Pull 

The use of hand trucks and dollies is all about visibility and control. By pushing, you have a clearer view of your path. In any instance you must pull, do so with caution and ensure your path is one hundred percent clear. 


5. Mind the Slopes 

Inclines can be especially tricky with a loaded hand truck or dolly. On inclines, it’s important to keep the load uphill from you/ Additionally, have a second person assist you where possible to guide you and balance the load. 


6. Regular Maintenance Checks 

Like any equipment, wear and tear can affect safety and performance which is why it is essential to carry out regular maintenance checks. When doing so, you should inspect for damaged or worn-out wheels, check for any loose bolts or parts and ensure they are tightened and ensure the handles and grips are fully secure. 


7. Training is Essential 

Even if a hand truck or dolly seems simple to operate, proper training can prevent many potential accidents. Ensure new users are aware of the equipment limits and correct usage. You should also regularly update training to include any new safety procedures or equipment features. 


8. Clear Your Path 

Obstacles can lead to trips, falls, and dropped loads which is why it is essential to inspect your path and ensure it is clear before carrying a load. You should always scout your route before moving a load and if you’re working in a busy area, you should consider using cones or barriers to secure a safe pathway to minimise the risk of a damaged load or injured personnel. 


9. Keep Movements Smooth 

Jolts and jerks can destabilise a load so it is vital you move at a steady pace, especially when starting or stopping. You should also be careful when taking turns, going slowly and avoiding sharp manoeuvres is best.


10. Inspect Ground Conditions 

Different terrains can impact the safety of your transfer. On uneven surfaces you must ensure to move slower and ensure your load is stable. Keep an eye out for wet or slippery patches also, especially when moving on smooth surfaces. 


When used correctly, hand trucks and dollies can be invaluable tools, increasing productivity while reducing the risk of injury. By following these safety precautions, you ensure not only the safety of the operator but also the goods being transported and those in the immediate environment. Stay safe and ensure every transfer is a smooth one! 


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