Solution Summary: Welding Cylinder Truck
A welding cylinder hand truck is an engineering control that can reduce musculoskeletal disorders from stooped postures and manual material handling. It is a lifting device that allows one worker to lift and transport up to two heavy welding cylinders that are secured by safety chains. These trucks are generally constructed out of tubular steel frames and pneumatic, polyurethane, rubber, semi-pneumatic or spoked steel wheels.
Weight capacities and dimensions vary per hand truck model. Some welding cylinder hand trucks can also include a "tilt back" feature which enable the cylinders to be resting at an angle and supported on four wheels during transport (see figure 1). Depending on the cylinder specifications, please refer to the vendors for the appropriate truck.
Figure 1. Tilt back cylinder hand truck by Akro-Mils (Source: https://akro-mils.com/Products/Types/Platform-Trucks-Hand-Trucks-Skids/Hand-Trucks/RGTS10F)
Heavy lifting and carrying can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the low back, such as muscle strain or a disc herniation (“slipped disc”), which is bulging of disc material possibly pressing on the spinal cord or nerves that go into the leg. Stressful hand & wrist activity can cause MSDs such as muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of elbow and wrist tendons; or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is compression of a wrist nerve, resulting in finger numbness and loss of hand strength.
How Risks are Reduced:
Welding cylinder hand trucks reduce heavy lifting and carrying by supporting cylinders during movement across a variety of surfaces. Further, the supporting lever plate can slide under the cylinders enabling easy loading.
Although there are no published studies on low back injuries and welding cylinder trucks, safety and health experts believe there is a reduction in risk. Lifting with the back bent forward increases the risk of low back injury (Hoogerdoorn et al. 2000). A welding cylinder truck eliminates lifting from a stooped posture that requires the back bent forward when loading as there is a supporting lever plate to enable easy loading.
Safety and health experts believe a welding cylinder truck minimizes heavy lifting and carrying and therefore can reduce the incidence of MSDs. There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of a welding cylinder truck on the incidence of low back disorders. However, studies have shown an association between manual materials handling and low back pain. (Kuiper et al. 1999; van der Molen et al. 2005). A welding cylinder truck reduces the amount of manual materials handling during transport.
It is recommended users follow all manufacturer guidelines before using this equipment to ensure worker safety and compliance with applicable local, state or federal regulations.
Jean Christophe Le, MPH - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training