Ergonomic Design Considerations for Transport Equipment

In today’s workplace, the health and safety of associates have become increasingly important topics in businesses, boardrooms, management offices, and courtrooms. Workplace injuries aren’t limited to neglect and poor observation of safety protocols. Repetitive motions, awkward positioning, and incorrect workstation height are a few areas where companies can ergonomically improve the work environment. Four (4) specific areas New Age Industrial focuses on include proper handles, casters, caster configuration, and leveling associate heights.
Using horizontal and vertical handles on transport equipment is common, but are they ideal? Vertical handles accommodate associates of differing heights but leave the users’ hands at an unnatural angle. Horizontal handles also lack a natural angle and don’t aid with associates of varying heights. An upside-down “V” shaped handle places arms, wrists, and hands in a neutral position, reducing fatigue and repetitive motion injuries to the arms and wrists. Also, this specific shape accommodates people of various heights, making them an ideal ergonomic solution for transport equipment.
Caster Selection
The maximum weight of the loaded cart or rack must be calculated first to determine which casters should be used. More oversized casters reduce the force needed to keep the equipment in motion and can support heavier loads. Multiple types of casters can be utilized in different situations. A smooth, level floor with no threshold variation will benefit from using a silent polyurethane wheel or a strong polyolefin wheel. Rough terrain or uneven surfaces require using a pneumatic wheel to traverse the environment easily. Other things should be considered when designing ergonomically friendly transport equipment, such as casters with step-down brakes, swivel casters, and the overall caster configuration.
Caster Configuration
Side-to-side stability and maneuverability of mobile equipment are determined by caster configuration. A front swivel configuration is excellent for light loads but can be hard on the arms. A rear swivel setup allows associates to use their body weight when turning but requires unnatural body positions. A 6-wheel design allows for center pivoting and exceptional maneuverability, but only two outside wheels are in contact with the ground simultaneously. New Age Industrial offers a 5-wheel configuration that includes four (4) swivel casters and one (1) rigid, spring-loaded caster in the center. This setup keeps the cart moving in a straight line until the operator wants to turn it. This center wheel also provides a zero-turn radius that keeps all five (5) wheels on the ground.
Leveling Associate Height
In almost all workplaces, including fulfillment centers, meat processing facilities, commercial kitchens, and assembly lines, many work areas are set up at a uniform, non-adjustable height, yet the workers vary in stature. New Age Industrial developed a solution called Ergo Stands to level the height differences among employees at shared workstations. Ergo Stands are solid, fully welded aluminum steps with aggressively punched tops for traction and a cutout carrying handle for easy transport. These stands are available in heights ranging from 1” to 8” and a spacious 24” square deck. Associates select their preferred Ergo Stand and place it on the ground in front of their workstations. When used, the associates’ heights are compatible with the workstation height, providing ergonomic positioning. Ergo Stands also elevate employees off the floor  to reduce slips and falls in a wet, slippery environment
Implementing ergonomic processes and utilizing ergonomic equipment makes workers more productive, increases safety, and reduces injuries. Companies will save time and money by including these processes in workplaces. With limited workforce availability, an injury is an expensive endeavor and strains the entire team during short-handed periods. New Age Industrial prioritizes ergonomics when designing and building its “Made in the USA” aluminum transport equipment.
New Age Industrial is the leading aluminum extruder and fabricator of storage and transportation equipment in the United States. We design and manufacture heavy duty, yet lightweight aluminum products to meet your exact needs. We work with various industries including foodservice, supermarket, and material handling. For more information, contact us today, and our team will help find you the perfect product that fits your needs.