New scissor-lift cart may help prevent back injuries

A new foot-operated scissor-lift cart, pioneered in District 2, is combating the potential for injury from ITD inspectors and lab technicians repeatedly bending and lifting to transfer asphalt samples from the back of pickups into the ovens in the lab.

During peak production-paving season, there can be several samples per day from each job, with each weighing 80-100 lbs.

District 2 Transportation Tech. Senior Jole Wells upgraded the current push cart to the scissor-lift cart in late April. The old push cart was similar to the low carts used at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Costco to move large or bulky items, but the scissor lift capability takes it a step further. 

“The scissor cart has a foot pump that allows the table part of the cart to be raised up, eliminating the need to bend over and lift something off the cart.”

The cart ordered for the Materials Lab cost about $500 and is 35-inches tall, so it can be raised up to the height of a one-ton pickup’s tailgate to transfer heavy loads up to 660 lbs.

“As a lead inspector, our inspectors are my customers,” Wells said. “If the new cart we ordered prevents just one inspector or lab tech from having a back injury in the future, that could save $40,000 -- the average cost of a workplace back injury. With 15-20 inspectors in the district, minimizing the risk of injury could amount to a significant savings.

“There are a couple of big scratches on the cart, so it has already been used to move some heavy objects,” Wells reports.

Published 08-17-18