What Are Ergonomic Casters and Their Crucial Role in Industrial Work Environments?
Victoria Forney

What Are Ergonomic Casters and Their Crucial Role in Industrial Work Environments?

Is your business experiencing a higher volume of workman's compensation claims due to injuries while transporting products and equipment? Consider upgrading to more ergonomic casters. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the topic.

When you purchase caster wheels by Caster Central, you give your business the highest quality equipment to keep them safe, productive, and happy.

What Makes a Caster Ergonomic?

An ergonomic caster wheel is easy for an employee to use both efficiently and comfortably. Not all caster wheels qualify as ergonomic, so what makes some casters more ergonomic than others?

An Extended Lead

A caster's lead (pronounced with a "long E") refers to the angle of the fork that holds the wheel. An ergonomic wheel requires a sharp angle, referred to as an extended lead, which increases mobility. The sharper angle also reduces the wheel's flutter or the vibration that shakes the rest of the cart during transportation.

The Quality of the Design

The superior design of the ergonomic caster relies on various ball bearings. The best ergonomic designs also reduce maintenance requirements by housing the bearings within a sealed rig. This reduces the accumulation of dirt and prevents debris from lodging in the wheel. 

Improved Load Bearing

To qualify as ergonomic, a caster wheel must be easy to move and provide less resistance no matter the weight of the load the worker is transporting. Ergonomic designs allow a cart to transport heavy loads without the resistance that usually accompanies a wheel bearing too much weight.

Ergonomic caster wheels often handle loads exceeding 1,000 pounds without any reduction in mobility, making them a safe and efficient mode of transporting large volumes of products or heavy equipment.

The Benefits of Ergonomic Casters

When you equip your carts with "ergo caster wheels," your workers and business reap several benefits.

Reduced Noise Production

A quiet work environment increases management's ability to communicate and reduces distractions. One of the more overlooked benefits of ergonomic caster wheels is that they often consist of sound-dampening material. 

Many people don't realize that while one or two moderate noises within the workplace don't have adverse effects, with long-term exposure to many layers of noise, workers often experience hearing loss. Reducing the noise from your casters might seem inconsequential, but it can be a small part of preventing hearing loss in the workplace.

Superior Mobility

By definition, ergonomic casters offer easier and more flexible mobility when compared with other designs. Basic casters only move in straight directions and don't turn easily or with a tight radius.

Because of their ball bearings, ergonomic casters can move in a circle, change direction quickly, and stop on a dime. Since the sealed rig protects the ball bearings from corrosive materials or debris, your workers won't have to strain themselves to push a sticky, sluggish, or wobbly wheel.

Fewer Injuries

Ergonomic caster wheels result in fewer employee injuries, and, as a result, you'll spend less money on compensation claims or missed work days. An ergonomic wheel reduces injuries in the following ways:

  • Reduced strain: When a caster wheel provides resistance during transportation, the worker has to strain their muscles to move and control the cart. This often results in muscle tension, sprains, or exhaustion that, at best, reduces the worker's productivity or, at worst, requires a recovery period.
  • Greater control: Since they provide little resistance and can move in any direction, ergonomic casters allow greater control over whatever cart or dolly you're using them for. Workers are also less likely to run over someone's foot or strain themselves trying to guide the cart and stay happier because they're less frustrated.
  • Fewer accidents: Greater control helps the worker avoid running into people, walls, or palettes and the damage that comes from collisions. As a result, your workplace can experience fewer spills, crashes, and accidents, reducing injury and expense.

Greater Productivity

Ergonomic caster wheels create increased employee productivity. With fewer injuries and missed days of work and faster transportation of goods and equipment, your employees work more efficiently, remain happier, and cause less property damage. While you'll pay a little more for ergonomic caster wheels, you'll likely save more money than you spend.

Choosing the Best Ergonomic Caster

How do you choose the best ergonomic caster wheels? Consider the following factors.

What Type of Wheel Do You Need?

You can find ergonomic caster wheels created from any of the following materials:

  • Stainless steel and cast iron: These casters are among the best materials for ergonomic casters. They stand up well to harsh environments and extreme temperatures and easily carry heavy loads. However, they're noisier than other wheels and can damage softer floors. 
  • Nylon and polyurethane: These caster wheels are great for work environments without extreme temperatures or corrosive chemicals. They glide smoothly without causing damage and have a high carrying capacity. 
  • Rubber: While popular for its durability and resistance to hazardous environments, rubber is only a good choice for ergonomic wheels if your employees transport light loads. 
  • Aluminum: Aluminum wheels resist hazardous environments and have high carrying capacity while remaining affordable. They don't handle rough or uneven surfaces well, so they're a poor choice for employees who transport items outside.

What Carrying Capacity Do I Require?

Do the loads your employees transport vary in their weight, or are they consistently light or heavy? As long as you won't put your employees or products at risk, you might find a caster wheel with a lower carrying capacity adequate. However, even if your workers transport heavy loads rarely, opt for the higher-strength casters to avoid problems.

What Type of Floor Do I Have?

The surface on which you use your caster wheels is an important consideration. If workers use the wheels outside, you'll need durable wheels that can handle pavement, gravel, or grass without bringing contaminants back into the facility. Despite the durability of most industrial flooring, if you have vulnerable or cushiony floors, confirm your choice of caster wheels won't damage them.

Are There Potential Hazards in the Workplace?

If your workplace contains any of the following, purchase caster wheels that can stand up to the environment:

  • Extreme temperatures: Since extreme temperatures can cause some materials to expand or contract, they can crack or warp casters made from vulnerable materials. If your facility experiences extreme heat or cold, or the temperature changes drastically throughout the day, you need a durable caster.
  • Hazardous chemicals: If your industrial process uses corrosive chemicals or acids, your casters will likely come in contact with them. Metal casters hold up to corrosive elements better than rubber or nylon.
  • High moisture content: Humid environments or those that require transporting through standing water can rust metals that aren't stainless steel. Water also quickly degrades polyurethane.
  • Tight spaces: Do you have stacks of palettes or equipment scattered throughout your facility? If your workers frequently navigate tight spaces or put themselves at risk of collisions, ensure you utilize a caster with a smooth glide, high carrying capacity, and tight turning radius.

Contact Caster Central for All Your Caster Wheel Needs

When you need industrial caster wheels, ergonomic casters can help you maintain productivity and protect your workers. At Caster Central, we offer a wide variety of casters for any facility or environment. We've provided material handling solutions for over 150 years, and in that time, we've grown our inventory to over 2,500 options.

Whether you know what you want or need our help choosing, our team members are standing by. To speak with a representative, call (800) 445-4082.