The importance of casters in the workplace is often overlooked and undervalued, much to the detriment of the companies purchasing them. In most cases, buying or replacing a caster gets rubber-stamped under general maintenance and repair and is considered not much more than a necessary cost.
But with the advances in caster technology, companies that utilize the right caster for a particular application can realize multiple safety benefits as well as significant cost savings.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) represent a major problem in modern occupational environments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 650,000 work-related musculoskeletal disorders cost employers over $20 billion and make up one dollar of every three dollars spent on worker’s compensation costs.
One of the biggest culprits of these types of injuries results from overexertion caused by moving loads weighing thousands of pounds. These loads require several pounds of force to start them moving and keep them rolling. The push force needed to initiate cart movement can cause a lot of stress on the body. And over time, this exertion has a negative and lasting effect on muscles and bones.
To remedy this, carts with parabolic wheels can help minimize friction and eliminate scrubbing and sliding when turning — all while providing the impact resistance of normal wheels. An example of this type of wheel is the TWERGO® wheel, which can reduce initial and continuous push force by an average of 25%, with some users even reporting as much as a 50% push reduction.
Another new design developed for material handling applications is the swivel on swivel caster. This type of design reduces the turning radius of a cart, so less space is needed to turn, and less force is exerted when maneuvering.
The thinking behind these caster advancements to reduce exertion when moving heavy loads manually is this: If you can reduce your push force below the recommended 45 pounds, for example, you will also decrease the probability of injury as a greater percentage of employees can push the cart without strain. Less injury means less worker’s compensations claims, saving you money on insurance costs and increasing productivity with a healthier workforce.
Of course, this thinking also applies to motorized carts which takes push force out of the equation completely. A Drive Caster® is an integrated caster and motor that can move 5,000 lbs. easily. The only effort required by the operator is to push a button. This type of caster is important for companies who need or want to eliminate the pushing and pulling required in many applications.
Workplace safety is always a priority. And by choosing the right caster for a specific material handling application, you’ll not only protect your workers, you’ll also prevent injury, save money, see increases in productivity and even improve workplace morale. It’s safe to say that using the right caster has its benefits.
If you would like more information on Caster Concepts complete line of ergonomic casters, wheels and related accessories as well as polymer dampening technology to keep employees safe on the job, give us a call or fill out the form below.