Ergonomics in Action: How to Create a Safer, Healthier, and More Efficient Workplace

Guest blog from MHI Member Company New Age Industrial

In contemporary workplaces, the paramount focus on the health and safety of associates has permeated boardrooms, management offices, and courtrooms alike. It is evident that injuries extend beyond mere neglect and inadequate adherence to safety protocols, with issues such as repetitive motion, awkward positions, and work height emerging as pivotal areas warranting improvement for a conducive work environment. This article delves into three key facets where manufacturers, such as New Age Industrial, have diligently shifted their focus to enhance ergonomics: handles, casters, caster configuration, and associate workstation height.

Conventional horizontal and vertical handles, ubiquitous in various carts, prompt a critical evaluation of their efficacy. Vertical handles, while accommodating associates of varying heights, necessitate operating the cart with hands at an unnatural angle. Similarly, horizontal handles lack a natural angle fall short in accommodating the diverse range of worker heights. In response, an innovative upside-down ā€œVā€ shaped handle is proposed. This design not only places arms, wrists, and hands in a neutral position, mitigating fatigue and the risk of repetitive motion injuries but also caters to individuals of differing heights

Caster Selection
Calculating the maximum weight of a loaded cart becomes imperative in determining the suitable casters. The strategic deployment of larger casters reduces the force required to keep the cart in motion and enhances its load-bearing capacity. Caster types, such as silent polyurethane wheels or robust polyolefin wheels, cater to smooth even flooring conditions. On the other hand, rough or uneven surfaces benefit from air filled pneumatic wheels. The selection process extends to considerations of step-down brakes, swivel, and overall configuration, demanding meticulous attention during cart design.

Caster Configuration
The way the casters are arranged is important for both stability and maneuverability. A cart with a swivel caster in the front is easy to turn, but it can be difficult to push, especially if it is heavily loaded. Conversely, a cart with a swivel caster in the back is easier to push, but it can be difficult to turn because the user has to use their body weight to turn it. New designs, such as carts with 6 wheels that swivel in the center, and carts with 4 swivel casters and 1 rigid caster in the middle, offer better solutions. These designs allow the cart to move in a straight line until the operator turns it. The cart can turn completely around (zero-turn radius) and all five wheels stay on the ground.

New Age Industrial, a leading aluminum extruder and fabricator in the United States, specializes in creating storage and transportation equipment. Contact an MHI member like them today to find out how ergonomics can be improved in your operations.