How to Properly Push a Wheel Cart to Avoid Injuries
Overexertion injuries are by far the most common claims when it comes to worker’s compensation, so finding ways to reduce these types of injuries can save employers time and money – and save employees themselves some pain and suffering. Here are some tips on how to properly push a wheel cart to avoid injuries in the workplace.
Pushing vs. Pulling
Many employees may be tempted to pull a cart behind them rather than push it ahead of them, and unfortunately, this can cause significant injury. When employees opt to pull carts behind them, they cannot see where they are going if they are walking backward, and the weight of the cart can put undue stress on the shoulders and back. What’s more, the cart can keep rolling after the employee has already stopped, which can cause collision-related injuries.
When employees choose to push carts instead, they can see where they are going and they put less pressure on their shoulders and back. The main reason to push rather than pull is to apply more force; employees can lean their bodies into the cart and make the work easier by distributing more of the force of the weight.
Tips for Pushing a Wheel Cart Properly
- Keep your hands at just above waist level. This helps to better balance center of gravity and significantly reduces injury risks.
- Always use both arms. Again, this helps to evenly distribute the amount of force needed to move the cart, which ultimately results in safer movement.
- Keep your back straight. A bent back is dangerous because it can lead to strained muscles.
- Contract your stomach muscles. This helps to strengthen and solidify your core as you push, which helps to prevent many common overexertion injuries.
- Keep your body close to the wheel cart. The further away you are from the cart, the more force you will need to exert to move it. Staying close allows you to use your bodyweight to your advantage and apply extra force without overexerting yourself.
- Wear the right shoes. Anti-slip shoes are vital for moving heavy carts. If your feet slip out from under you, this can cause fall injuries.
- Check for debris before moving and during motion. Clearing the area of debris before moving the cart can help keep the process safer, but it’s important to continue checking the area for new debris as you go.
- Move slowly. Heavy carts should be moved very slowly; the heavier the load, the longer it will take for it to stop when you are ready to stop.
- Use high-quality casters and caster wheels that are appropriate for the load. Using the wrong casters can cause serious injury should the caster fail, and if the casters are not ergonomic, it increases the amount of force needed to push the load. This alone can increase overexertion injuries.
As you can see, there are several steps and tips you can use to ensure that you (or your employees) are moving loaded wheel carts appropriately to avoid injury. Knowing how to physically push the cart and ensuring the caster wheels are appropriate for the load can save countless thousands of dollars, improve your production, and even improve employee morale.