Solution Summary: Multiple Panel Slab Cart
A multiple panel slab cart is an engineering control that may help reduce lifting and carrying by transporting multiple slabs on rough surfaces and around tight turns.
There are many types of granite countertop dollies and carts. In general, dollies and carts can support a wide range of weight (400-2200 pounds) with the bulkier, less mobile carts tolerating more weight. Movement is made possible through the use of 2-4 wheels depending on the make and model. Additionally, the granite slabs are held by rubber grippers to avoid chipping.
Abaco makes many different models of granite countertop dollies and carts. The Abaco 4 Wheel Slab Dolly has two solid rubber wheels and two swivel casters (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Abaco 4 Wheel Slab Dolly
The Abaco Self Locking Trolley is made for heavy-duty purposes with rubber on the bottom and sides of the dolly to protect the finish work from getting damaged (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Abaco Self Locking Trolley
Saw Trax makes the Granite Express Slab Cart that can support up to 1100 pounds (Figure 3). It has a self-adjusting carrying mechanism to hold materials up to 3 inches in width with either regular or irregular edges.
Figure 3. The SaxTrax Panel Express transporting a granite counter slab. (Picture courtesy of Saw Trax Mfg, Inc.)
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. Granite countertop dollies can help reduce heavy lifting and carrying, and stressful hand and wrist activity by supporting granite slabs during movement up stairs and over a variety of surfaces.
How Risks are Reduced:
Granite countertop dollies reduce heavy lifting and carrying by supporting material during movement across a variety of surfaces and up stairs.
The cart reduces stressful hand & wrist activity by reducing the amount of time spent supporting countertops with the hands.
Safety and health experts believe granite countertop dollies will help to reduce heavy lifting and carrying, and stressful hand and wrist activity because materials are moved by the dolly rather than by hand.
Effects on Productivity:
A granite countertop dolly may increase productivity by reducing the time required to move slab countertops across uneven surfaces. Self-adjusting carrying slots may also reduce time required to attach slabs to carts.
While granite countertop dollies reduce risk, improper use of the carts could be harmful. It is critical to operate the carts according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; Jesse Brouwer, SPT; and Julianne Keenan, SPT – Eastern Washington University