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Card #19

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Carts and hand trucks can save you a lot of effort and injury, but before you grab one and start using it, pause and think about how this useful tool can also cause injury. A little knowledge can avoid hurting yourself or someone else with these common items.

The FACTS: What you need to KNOW

  1. Common injuries include fingers and hands caught between the cart and other objects, crushed or bruised toes and feet, and muscle strains in the lower back, shoulders, and arms.
  2. Carts are a common cause of slips, trips, and falls. Read Card #7 for more information about those hazards.
  3. Many factors affect what you can safely transport on a cart or hand truck. They fall into three categories: workplace (slope/ramps, floor type, aisle width), human factors (your strength and capacity), and the cart itself (the type and weight rating).

Tip: Sliding heavy items from a table to a cart is one way to practice safe lifting (Card #9).

The Actions: What you need to DO

Check the cart or hand truck before loading it. Make sure the frame and wheels are lubricated and in good condition. Notify your volunteer manager if you spot any issues.

Practice safe lifting (Card #9) as you load the cart. Place heavy items at the bottom. Center and balance the load over the axles. Make sure you can see over the load.

Check your route and remove any obstructions before moving. Grip the handles firmly and move slowly and deliberately. Don't use your foot to brake or stop the cart, and don't park it on a slope.

Communicate your intentions clearly to others around you. When you are done, store the cart so that it doesn't become a hazard for others. This is especially true of low, flat carts.

Volunteer Safety Videos are under development and will be available in 2023.

Links, Resources & More

  • Take a free safety course from Nonprofit Safety Hero.
  • Use the free APPapp to help your organization create an Accident Prevention Program.
  • Learn more about OSHA and WISHA laws that govern workplace safety for both volunteers and paid workers.
  • View a complete list of volunteer safety topics from Volunter Safety Hero.