Back strain from repetitive lifting lead companies to add caster wheels to carts and equipment. Some equipment may be so heavy that it cannot be realistically carried at all. When selecting casters for your industry, remember that casters may reduce lifting injuries, but workers are still using force to move equipment. In the case of caster-mounted objects, workers will push and pull. If they need to push and pull with large amounts of force, or if there is a chance that a cart could tilt, they may be injured. A worker could also be injured if the cart wheels are not locked and it rolls suddenly. Consider wheel types, size, and weight capacity in your selection. There may also be OSHA regulations that pertain to your application.
Selecting Rigid Versus Swivel Caster Wheels
A rigid caster wheel only rolls in one direction. If workers try to turn with rigid wheels, they will have to lift or tilt the cart. A swivel wheel can rotate 360 degrees. As a result, swivel wheels are easier to manage around tight turns. However, a rigid wheel works better for traveling in straight lines over long distances. Many cart designs combine rigid and swivel wheels for both stability and maneuverability. Some combination designs will tilt as the cart turns, so workers will need to be careful that heavy loads do not shift or overload the weight-bearing casters. For both kinds of wheels, you may want to add wheel locks so that equipment may be set securely in place. If you have a heavy cart, you do not want it to unexpectedly shift and run into a worker or other equipment.
Larger wheels are easier to roll and put less strain on your workers. They also move easily over imperfections in floor surfaces. However, you also do not want the cart to move so easily that it becomes hard to control. If a slight push on a cart will cause it to careen down the hallway, you may prefer smaller and thicker wheels. Choose a wheel size that requires the least possible force to move, while at the same time offering stability and control.
Choose wheels that will handle the maximum loads that you expect to carry. This prevents caster failures. Caster failures could lead to equipment breakage and severe worker injuries. Casters come with weight capacity ratings. Keep in mind that calculating maximum loads for standard and leveling casters differ.
Protecting worker safety is an important aspect of your business. Therefore, carefully choose the casters that will move your equipment with ease and stability. Consult with a dealer for their expert recommendations.