Millwrights are at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders due to the physical requirements to perform their work. Because of this, it is strongly recommended for millwrights to use material handling equipment, such as scissor lift pallet jacks. If you are new to being an independent millwright contractor, here is a mini-guide about scissor lift pallet jacks.
What are the benefits of scissor lift pallet jacks?
The use of pallet jacks will allow you to move equipment from one location to another without pushing and pulling on the equipment, such as you would with a dolly. The scissor lift of this type of pallet jack will allow you to position the height of the equipment right where you need it, which will prevent you from having to physically lift the equipment from the low position of a regular pallet jack.
In addition to reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, there are other benefits to using a scissor lift pallet jack to move equipment from one location to another. Most pallet jacks are designed with easy-rolling, abrasion-resistant polyurethane wheels which won't mark floors and provide for a smooth ride to protect the machinery that is being moved by the pallet jack. Pallet jacks also have locking brakes, which can be helpful in areas where the flooring may be slightly sloped, such as towards a floor drain.
Which type of power would work best for you?
These types of pallet jacks are powered in two ways: hydraulics or batteries.
- Hydraulics. This type is considered a manual jack and uses hydraulics to lift and lower the forks. While certainly not as fast or productive as a motorized pallet jack, they are still a great investment for moving pallets in a level (or slightly-sloped) floor environment with a lot less maintenance and upkeep than motorized pallet jacks. They are maneuverable by any able-bodied person and are helpful in reducing the risks of musculoskeletal injuries.
- Batteries. This type is considered motorized and uses batteries that can be either recharged or depleted. If you choose a rechargeable battery, you'll need to be sure that a charging station is readily available when you take the pallet jack to the various sites where you do contracted work. For this reason, it's a good idea to go with one that needs a battery replacement when the battery is drained, instead. However, keep in mind that these batteries can be heavy and difficult to maneuver into place if you are experiencing back pain or other musculoskeletal problems.
Cautionary side-note: As with any type of machinery, safety is always a factor. Be sure to understand operating instructions and take safety precautions concerning pallet jacks when using them.
Should you buy or rent scissor lift pallet jacks?
Of course, the first answer that comes to mind will depend largely on your current financial situation and whether or not you are just starting your independent contractor trek in the millwright field. However, there are a lot of other things to consider when making the decision between buying your own equipment or renting the equipment when it's needed, such as:
- storage when not in use
- delivery to work site locations
- maintenance expenses
- repair costs
- parts availability for repairs
- immediate replacement during repairs
- safety and operator training
If you can answer yes to those necessities of ownership, purchasing the pallet jack may be the way to go. But if you cannot meet those needs at any given time, it may be safer for you to rent a scissor lift pallet jack from a company like All-Star Equipment instead of buying one. Either way, if you want to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, do not spare the expense of having a scissor lift pallet jack for moving equipment.