Looking for some advice regarding the types of wheels to place on the large laundry carts used to transport laundry throughout the hospital. We recommended that there be swivel castors on the back of the cart from where the staff is suppose to maneuver the carts and two fixed wheels on the front of the carts to allow for more control of the cart. However staff is pulling the carts instead of pushing them and therefore this design is not working. I think putting in a safe work practice to look at the best way to maneuver the cart would be appropriate as it is my opinion that the carts should be pushed instead of pulled. However, would like some advice on a different safe work practice or configuration of wheels.
Corrine Power BScOT(c)CWCE
I would suggest two 16-20 inch bicycle wheels disposed 10% rearward of the center of the front/rear distance of the cart, with two 3-6 inch swivel castors on the front end. The cart would be pushed from the rear with excellent handling since the cart would be pivoting from near center. Also, the cart can be pushed down on the rear end for easier access to materials near the bottom of the cart. And, while pushing the cart forward from the rear, the front castors can be raised off the floor for easier pushing and pivoting, with all the weight taken up by the large wheels. The cart should be loaded front end first to keep it from tipping rearward. I pushed one of these for 16 years collecting laboratory trash until the government replaced it with a standard, small front fixed wheels (3″), and small rear swivel wheels (3″) cart. This type maneuvers poorly but requires less mental ability. It also demands less mental ability – so much so, that a person wouldn’t know whether to push it or pull it, or from which end to push or pull it. Pushing from the end with the swivel castors causes very wide turns, which cause accidents at corridor intersections. Your staff is probably pulling from the swivel end to prevent blocking intersections, and to prevent colliding with oncoming traffic by acting as a bumper, scout and and horn for the cart. Seems to me they are operating it in the safest way given the design of the cart.
There have been previous questions regarding carts, and some people may not reply because of this.
However, you can search previous postings and responses (‘Search Posts’ tab) for ‘carts’, ‘casters’, ‘castors’, ‘laundry’, etc. to view some of listings. There are also some that address using powered movers to pull heavy carts.
Ergohead, do you remember who makes the cart you described? I am working with a nursing home on laundry issues. They pull carts (as described in the original question) that carry 700+ pounds of soiled laundry. I searched around for alternative carts but didn’t see anything that impressed me. I am going to recommend a motorized puller, but the client may balk at the cost and the clumsiness of those things. I am intrigued by the cart you describe.
ErgoMaine, I believe the cart I used was custom made by the maintenance crew at the research lab who most likely designed it to work well in the 5′ 3″ wide corridors and the very small elevators. It was 24″ wide by 45″ long by 40″ high. I thought I was getting my contract back, so I planned to get one made locally. The 16″ bicycle wheels with axle are available on those lawn carts sold at Sears. I was planning on having a welder make the 24x45x40 “box” out of a frame of 3/4′ angle iron with galavanized sheet riveted to it, and then mount the axle, wheels, and castors to it. It looks like about a $190.00 job.
I looked in all the catalogs I could find, including C&H, and could find nothing built on the principle of center pivot. I have seen this center pivot principle used on hand dollies with the two larger fixed-direction-wheels mounted in the middle with 2 swivel castors on one end and 2 swivel castors on the other end, which allows center pivoting.
I don’t think I ever loaded more than 500 pounds. (Science Journals)
If you find a cart offered commercially with this center pivot design, please share your source with me.
Your staff might be pulling the cart from the swivel-castored end because if they pushed the cart from the swivel-castored end, and the front end of the cart gradually started moving toward the wall of the corridor, staff most often cannot correct the cart away from the wall because the rear, swiveled-castored end would need to swing so far for the correction (too far) that IT, the rear end, would collide with the wall. This is a significant problem that occurs from pivoting a cart from an end rather than from the middle.
All of the hand dollys used at the research lab where I worked were set up with a push handle on the end with the swivel castors. This is why all of the corridor walls are gouged. This frustrates the maintenance crew with their never ending job of keeping the facility looking new.
When your staff pulls the cart from the swivel-castored end, the front end of the cart can be pull-steered away from the corridor wall without the rear end colliding with the wall. My compliments to your staff if this is what they are doing.
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