Power Drive Solutions: How much weight is actually too much weight for an employee to push?

December 22, 2015

Power Drive


Frequently the job of someone who works in manufacturing, or healthcare requires them to move heavy equipment.  The question is, how heavy is too heavy for one person to move? How frequently is too frequently for a heavy object to be moved? How about sustained movement, when does something become too heavy to sustain pushing it for a distance? Where is the push point, high, medium or low on the object? All of these questions yield different results.  It takes more effort to get an object into motion than it does to maintain motion, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest.”

According to Liberty Mutual and the Snook tables, push point, frequency of movement, distance moved, initial force and sustained force are all factors in determining whether or not an object is of an acceptable weight for one person to move.

The weight of an object is not directly related to the force in pounds necessary to initiate or sustain movement.  For an accurate force in pounds reading a Dynamometer is necessary. Since most objects are pushed at a medium push point (hands at about 36”) this is where we will derive our information.

At maximum distance of 194 feet (approximately 2/3 the length of a football field) one can move an object with an initial push force of 31 pounds once every two minutes, or thirty times an hour.  Sustained movement force is 13 pounds.

For this review we will use an average linen department in an average hospital.  The typical distance from department to department will be at or just above the 194 feet detailed above.  Frequently a hospital linen department employee is starting and stopping the movement of the linen cart to restock each department.  Walking from one department to the next within the 1 time ever 2 minutes, or 30 times every hour, again being at or just slightly above the recommended limits.  Bringing us to our final measurement, initiating force in pounds and sustained force in pounds.  To initiate movement of a linen cart will be well above the 33 pounds of force and to sustain movement of a 300-pound linen cart is far above and beyond the 13 pounds of force.

What all of this means is that hospital employees are exhausting their bodies far beyond what they should nearly every moment of their job.  There are two options a department and a hospital as a whole can explore.  Operationally speaking, adding a second person for every transport will reduce the risk of injury, however it will severely decrease the productivity of the department, costing the hospital an extraordinary amount of money.  Not only in doubling the amount of money spent in the transport (two employees hourly rate) but as well taking into consideration the second employee is not productive elsewhere in the department.  The next and more popular route for a hospital to take would be implementing an engineered solution.  By adding a power drive solution to the transport of the linen cart the same employee can do their job safely.

Adding a power drive allows the same staff member to safely do their job by eliminating the push force factor from the daily task.  Not only will the power drive eliminate the risk of injury to the daily movement of linen throughout the hospital, it often times can increase the efficiency of linen transport.  By adding a power drive, more weight can be added to the transport without risking the staff member’s safety.  Larger heavier loads in a single transport will eliminate return trips with empty carts thus increasing the efficiency of the department.

PHS West and the Ergo-Express motorized carts and tugs are the best solution for any heavy movement that exceeds recommended levels in manufacturing, healthcare, or any other industry in which an employee’s body is at risk daily due to frequent heavy movements.  We take the time to listen to our customers and understand their current operation and ensure we fit the best product to their process to ensure ease of implementation.  Whatever customization aspects that need to be taken into consideration, we make sure every detail is considered and solved.

From over the phone design reviews with our Sales & Design Consultants, to on-site product demonstrations with our local representatives, we go above and beyond the typical requirements and make sure everything that needs to be taken into consideration is met. Free on-site product demonstrations not only allow for the department to view the product, it will also provide an overall application understanding for us and allow for us to determine the most appropriate product and model of product to best do the job.  Also determining the appropriate accessories, containment, towing/weight capacity need and more.  For the facility it provides face to face time with the product, proof of concept to upper management as well as justification of need.  Lastly we can aid in building a business case along with providing an ergonomic risk assessment and ROI justification reports.

Contact a Sales & Design consultant today to review your current process and evaluate your need for a power drive solution.

Call us today 1(888)639-5438

More information on our Ergo-Express Motorized Carts & download our brochure

More information on our Ergo-Express Motorized Tugs & download our brochure

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