There are six forms of simple machine. Two of these forms, the wheel and axle and the lever, are combined in the hand truck, a two-wheeled cart designed to slide under an object, lift it at an angle and wheel it to its destination. Hand trucks and hand pallet carts are used by anyone who needs to move heavy items on a regular basis: loading dock workers, appliance deliverymen, furniture movers and homeowners.
Hand truck manufacturers make hand trucks, pallet trucks, hand carts and dollies from a variety of materials. Plastic dollies are designed for light duty use, magnesium and aluminum hand trucks offer a combination of strength and light weight, while tubular steel hand trucks are made to handle the heaviest loads.
Hand trucks allow workers to "work smarter, not harder" in the following ways:
- Reducing the number of workers required to move heavy objects, freeing workers for other tasks.
- Decreasing muscle fatigue, allowing workers to work longer and handle more items.
- Lessening the chance of merchandise being dropped or damaged, lowering the likelihood of having to replace broken items.
Go for the convenience of a convertible or folding hand truckFolding hand trucks are handy when you need occasional or easily transportable help with heavy loads, or don't have the space for a conventional hand truck. Convertible hand trucks are ideal when you haul several different loads and only want to pay one hand cart price.
Get heavy-duty hand trucks to handle your heavy loadsIf you typically deal with oil drums, water cooler bottles, vending machines or other heavy, bulky loads, you need a hand truck made to handle the weight.
Make your hand trucks more effective with the right accessoriesSometimes you need to help your hand truck to help you, with accessories to climb a steep curb or steep stairs or to extend its nose so you can get under a wide load--or just a set of replacement wheels to keep it rolling.
- Be sure the hand truck has a long enough nose to slide under the load without tipping it when the truck is lifted. If the load is too wide and an extender is not available, use a hand cart or pallet truck instead.
- Ensure the load can be carried securely by the pallet truck. Some hand trucks are designed so gravity can hold the load in place. Secure any bulky, awkward, or fragile load with tie-downs before lifting it.
- When placing multiple loads on a hand truck, place the heaviest load at the bottom and stagger other items so they are locked in place by the shape and weight of adjacent items. Never stack higher than you can see.
- Hand trucks always should be pushed on level surfaces and should go ahead of you downhill and behind you uphill. Avoid walking backward with a hand truck.