A hand truck can be a great way of moving heavy freight short distances, however you do need to ensure that you know how to use a hand truck safely

A hand truck may also be known as a two wheeler, stack trucks, or barrow bags. It is an L shaped hand cart with handles at one end, wheels at the base with a small ledge to place items on.Some hand trucks are equipped with stair climber wheels, which as the name implies are designed to go up and down stairs. Some of the options that may be considered are the types of wheels, stair climber, handle type and size of wheels.

Instructions for how to use a hand truck safely 

Check condition

There aren’t a lot of moving parts on a hand truck that can break or wear out. However most do have wheels that can deflate. If your wheels do not have the correct air pressure in them then you wont be able to push your load as flat tires wont roll as well.

Ensure cargo fits

Make sure your cargo is going to fit, it will be helpful to place smaller items into containers or boxes for easy stacking. Trying to load the truck with a lot of small stuff can cause problems and may result in the load tipping once moved.


Unless you want a top heavy, half crushed load, the heavier boxes should go on first, ensuring the load doesn’t tip over. It is very important to have an idea of how much your load is going to weigh, and never overload your hand truck.

Lifting the truck

With the cargo resting neatly against the cart , the handle should reach your waist or slightly above. This allows the wheels to take most of the weight.It is much harder and can cause injury to tilt the truck once you have a heavy load.

Moving forward

It is a good idea to decide which way you are going before you start moving. Ensure you have a clear path as it can be easy to hit wheels on things and even tip off the load. Decide weather you are going to push or pull the hand truck .

Some of the options that may be considered are the types of wheels, stair climber, handle type and types of wheels. Another thing to be considered is the load shape compared with the back rest shape. i.e cylinder shaped loads should sit on a curved backrest . Also consider the environmental condition that the truck will be operating in. For example on loose or uneven ground oversize wheels can be a huge advantage, solid or puncture proof tires are also a bonus.


Bear in mind the size of the load in comparison to the length of the toe plate or nose plate, a good rule of thumb is that the toe or nose should be 1 3rd the length of the load. Also be cautious with capacities as these are invariably de- rated when handling long loads.

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