A platform truck, also known as a hand truck, is a flat sheet of metal that has wheels on the bottom and a handle on the back, to allow someone to stand behind it and push it. These trucks are used in industrial environments to help people quickly transport either a large number of items or items that are very heavy. They also have uses in the hospitality industry and in other settings where items need to be moved quickly.
In most cases, both the handle and the platform of each truck is metal. Some have rubber on top of the flat metal sheet to help keep items in place. Others have raised sides to try to accomplish the same task. Most all have wheels that can swivel slightly so that turning corners is not difficult.
While most people may not have a platform truck in their homes, it is likely that they encounter them fairly often. One may find a two-level platform truck, also known as a shelf truck, in schools, hospitals, offices and libraries. Teachers often use them to move audio-visual equipment, nurses may use them to bring meals to patients, mail room employees frequently use them to distribute correspondence, and librarians might use them for ease in shelving books. Also, restaurants and caterers often use them to move food from one location to another.
Retail store employees may use multi-level shelf trucks, with more than two shelves, to transport merchandise from the back warehouse to the sales floor or to unload deliveries from cargo trucks. Sometimes these trucks do not have traditional handles, but instead a small one extending from the edge of the top shelf. This helps prevent them from being tall and awkward to operate.
Another type of platform truck that may be in a store is a security truck. This is a shelf truck that has a mesh box around it. Often the doors of the box are secured with some type of padlock. This insures that people who have access to the truck can move the merchandise but cannot remove it without proper authorization.
Some varieties of large industrial platform trucks can hold more than 2,500 pounds (1,133.9 kilograms). This can allow even a relatively small person to move a great load with little risk of injury. When using a platform truck, the operator must remember to push the truck and not the merchandise sitting on it. If the merchandise is pushed, it could slip off the front of the truck, which could result in accidents, injuries or broken goods.