From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Easing the Task of Pushing and Pulling

Here’s the scenario: Employees at Company X used to be able to roll three carts of supplies around the office corridor in 20 minutes. But now that Company X has installed carpeting, the carts move more slowly. How much more effort will each employee have to expend to move the carts at the former carpet-free rate?

Fear not: while the situation above might read like an unsolvable word problem, in reality, pushing and pulling dilemmas are solvable, albeit sometimes with more than just a little thought. But with the right tools and appropriate knowledge, any task can be made a little easier, even pushing Company X’s carts on brand new carpet.

In perfect conditions, a hard, smooth wheel rolling on a hard, smooth surface would experience the least resistance to rolling. But perfect conditions rarely exist, and whenever two surfaces come in contact with one another, friction steps in to resist the movement between them.

Fortunately, appropriate equipment can make the task of pushing simpler. Rough, uneven surfaces or surfaces that regularly harbor debris will work best with a larger diameter wheel. Slippery surfaces can benefit from wheels that are designed to match the specific conditions, theoretically acting like snow tires, for example. Other environments don’t just wreak havoc on the cart’s operator but on the cart’s wheels itself