“Ergonomics is a key element in carts,” says Andres Lelarge, marketing manager-North America for Vileda Professional, Concord, Ontario, Canada. “It’s a balance between being lightweight and easy to maneuver, and being weighted properly so it supports carry-on elements and does not flip over.”

Not only that, but ergonomic designs are critical in preventing repetitive stress injuries.

Carlson explains, “Your workers are going to be maneuvering that cart for hours every day. The better the cart moves and the lighter it is, the better it is for worker satisfaction and the better the job that’s done.”

A key ergonomic consideration is height; the carts must fit the worker’s stature. Most cleaning carts come in a variety of sizes to allow cleaning operations to order the size most appropriate for their workers. A few even come with an adjustable handle that allows a worker, within a few seconds, to move the handle to the correct height for them. Carts also are often available in narrower designs that might be more maneuverable for workers of a smaller stature, adds Abby Murphy, marketing director at Royce Rolls Ringer Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

When designing a cart, managers must consider what chemicals, tools and supplies the staff uses most often and put them at a good working height. Workers shouldn’t have to bend, stretch or strain to get the tools they need, adds Lelarge. Storing those products used most frequently above the waist of workers reduces bending and prevents worker strain.

With ergonomics comes training, and most manufacturers say they teach their customers to properly load a cart at a reasonable weight — instead of filling the cart to capacity. Educating workers on the best ways to load the cart also ensures it won’t topple over or become difficult to push, says Carlson.

Testing The Wheels

In addition to weight, maneuverability of carts can vary depending on the type of wheels and casters featured. Before purchasing, managers should look at the wheels on carts for functionality, but also possible noise and markings.

Carts require over-sized, non-marking caster wheels to provide effortless ride with minimal noise. Front and back swivel casters also improve the cart’s maneuverability.   

Those offerings with 360-degree swivel casters allow carts to be pushed in any direction, making it easier for these units to be parked in confined areas and in small janitorial closets. This design also makes the carts easier for workers to push.

“A cart with fixed wheels on the back requires wider turns,” says Klawitter. “With swivel casters on the front and the back, the cart can be pushed in any direction.”

Murphy adds that healthcare facilities drove the need for quiet wheels, which are now being added to cleaning carts as a standard feature. Locking mechanisms are also being put on carts so that if they must be parked on a incline or a decline, they will not move.

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