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When it comes down to it, hand trucks are pretty basic: Two wheels, a flat floor plate, and two handles. But these versatile tools have been an important part of efficient operations at docks, warehouses, and other materials handling locations for centuries.
The beauty of hand trucks lies in their simplicity. They harness the concept of the center of gravity to enable workers to lift and move loads weighing hundreds of pounds quickly and easily.
Plus, hand trucks are easily maneuverable, allowing workers to get into tight spaces, turn sharp corners, and navigate narrow aisles with precision.
Hand Truck Basics
Just about anybody can be trained on the proper usage of hand trucks in about 90 seconds flat. That’s because there’s not much to them. Plus, it almost seems as maneuvering a hand truck is something that most people can do instinctively.
Say you have a stack of boxes. They can be the same size or different shapes. It doesn’t really matter as they are all stacked upright.
All you need to do is gently rock the stacked boxes back and forth so that a small gap appears between the bottom of the lowest box and the floor. Then you simply sweep the plate of the hand truck into this gap and release the stack so that they settle against the handles of the hand trucks.
Moving Heavy Loads
Now you are ready to move the stack of boxes anywhere you want. Hold onto the top of the uppermost box with your left hand and grasp the handle of the hand truck with your right hand. If you are left-handed, reverse these.
Then use your body weight to lean the load back so that the center of gravity is over the hand truck’s two wheels. As long as you maintain this balance, you can move even the heaviest loads with pinpoint accuracy.
Many hand trucks have air-filled wheels, which serve as built-in shock absorbers for when you are transporting loads over cables, sidewalk cracks, and other bumps in the road.
Hand Truck Strengths
When choosing a hand truck, look for one made from all-steel or all-aluminum construction. Inexpensive hand trucks made from plastic won’t generally give you as much support, especially if you plan on lifting heavy loads.
If you try to lift too much with cheaper hand trucks, they load platform can crack or break.
Metal hand trucks with welded joints are often the best choice for most industrial applications.