Are you unsure what could be contributing to strains, sprains, or carpal tunnel in your workplace? Don’t forget to check the facility’s flooring. Carpet is used in a variety of workplace settings, and unfortunately, it can also make material transport a safety issue. Here’s what you need to know about carpet in the workplace, and what can be done to protect your employees.
Why Carpet and Manual Carts Create Workplace Safety Problems
In many industries, carpet is standard. Hospitals and hotels commonly use carpet to keep noise down in hallways and add an additional level of patient or guest comfort. Carpet can provide a sophisticated or upscale feel to the interior design that caters to a specific clientele. Even in more rugged manufacturing workplaces, carpet is sometimes used to separate the shop floor from administrative or executive offices.
However, carpeting makes pushing carts more difficult, and can actually lead to greater staff discomfort and injury. Any surface that generates additional friction when the wheels of a cart or trolley move across it will naturally increase the occurrence of musculoskeletal injuries. Especially when using a manual cart, moving even moderate loads can take more time and cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in employees like carpal tunnel, wrist or elbow strains.
It may seem like a relatively minor detail to have carpet in the front office where mail, medication carts, and other seemingly simple materials are regularly transported. Unfortunately, MSDs can even occur when moving loads lighter than 40 lbs, especially during repetitive tasks. This is why evaluating the entire facility for hazards and transport obstructions is necessary to manage risk.
Motorized Carts Let Us Keep the Carpet and Still Maintain Workplace Safety
Thankfully, a wide range of ergonomic, motorized equipment exists to allow staff to move heavy loads over just about any surface, indoors and outdoors. Most of the standard motorized carts and tugger models used for this purpose can handle any sized material up to 4,000 lbs. For robust motorized equipment like this, safely traversing carpet is of no issue.
Though both motorized carts and motorized tuggers are sufficient to solve the problem of carpet in the workplace, they serve slightly different purposes. For facilities that need to transport multiple manual carts with a single detachable piece of equipment, a tugger is an ideal workplace safety solution. Tuggers with universal hitches can hitch to any cart and even pull several carts at once as long as they are within its payload capacity. Motorized carts are well-suited to operations that need the carts themselves to safely operate and maneuver independently or in tight spaces.
Using a motorized cart or tugger specifically designed to handle the surfaces in your place of work can eliminate MSDs without having to sacrifice the benefits of a carpeted space. Whether or not carpet is the culprit in your facility, contacting one of our engineers to investigate the application can help put you on the path towards improving workplace safety.