Types of Handles for Material Handling Equipment

Carts, dollies, racks, and order picking cages are essential tools for moving products around a facility. This equipment is made mobile by adding casters, but a great way to make them easier to maneuver is by adding handles to them as well. There are various types of handles, and each has a specific purpose. Let’s explore some of the most popular handle options for material handling equipment.
Ergonomic Best Practices
First, let’s discuss some ergonomic best practices. To push or to pull… that is the question! Pushing equipment, in almost all cases, is the correct way to operate. Pulling a cart is typically considered ergonomically incorrect because it forces the operators’ bodies to be placed in unnatural positions. In addition, users tend to pull using only one arm, instead of using both which places more strain on their bodies. Pushing allows the operator to use their body weight in natural positions limiting the possibility of injury.
Vertical Handles
Vertical handles come in pairs and are located on either side of equipment in a parallel configuration.  They allow people with differing heights to hold at different positions in an ergonomically correct body position.  Vertical handles are not ideal for heavier loads and put the hands and wrists in a non-ergonomic position which could lead to repetitive motion injuries.
Horizontal Handles
Horizontal handles are most often placed on equipment as a single handle, parallel to the ground positioned roughly at waist height. This handle type is ideal for equipment transporting heavy loads since users can utilize more of their body weight into forward motion. Unfortunately, horizontal handles tend to be a less ergonomic solution in some cases. Just like their counterpart, vertical handles, operators’ hands and wrists aren’t necessarily positioned in an ergonomic friendly way and horizontal handles are placed at a fixed height. This means the handles won’t necessarily be at the perfect height for everyone that is transporting the equipment.
Ergo Handles
Ergo handles from New Age Industrial are truly an ideal, ergonomic solution. This upside-down, “V” shaped handle places employees’ hands and wrists in neutral positions. This greatly reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries to those extremities. In addition, the shape of Ergo Handles allows users to hold onto them in multiple places and positions, accommodating people of all different heights and statures.
Often, when customizing material handling equipment, the handle selection isn’t the primary consideration in many designs. Choosing an incorrect handle may result in a less than ideal working environment for many associates which makes a huge impact on productivity and workforce health and safety.
At New Age Industrial, ergonomics is a top priority, and our design experts will create equipment to fit your exact needs. 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.