Handling Heavy Glass Safely

posted on: Friday March 28, 2014

08-abouta_1People who install heavy glass have a number of potential hazards to deal with during the process of moving the material from the manufacturer to the site and into the frame. Obviously, glass needs to be handled so that it does not cut workers, and it needs to be protected during transportation. Depending on the job, getting the material to and from the truck can be the toughest part of the process. There are a number of tools and equipment available to help with this.

Anyone who handles glass and/or doors for a living needs proper equipment to ensure the material stays intact and does not injure anyone. This article will focus on a few of the most helpful transport equipment on the market:

  • Vacuum cups
  • Glass trolleys, dollies, racks and carts
  • Power tugs (little helpers with or without carts, racks, or trolleys)

Vacuum cups

Vacuum cups allow for the safest installation of glass. Sticking to the surface of glass, vacuum cups allow workers to lift, hoist, and position glass from a cart and into a frame without cutting themselves. While professionals who install heavy glass absolutely need something comparable to these cups, even small-pane installers will benefit from the hand-held tool. The cups fit on flat, curved, and patterned glass, and allow a person to manipulate glass without touching sharp edges. While vacuum cups aren’t always used for transportation, two people can use cups to transport single panes of glass to and fro. Transport equipment is also available with the vacuum cups on them, like vacuum lifters used to install glass in multi-story buildings.

Trolleys, dollies, racks and carts

Even with multiple people carrying a pane with vacuum cups, however, the load can get quite heavy. For single pane transport around a worksite, some installers use a glass dolly. There are a few different kinds, but essentially a pane of glass slides width-vertically onto the surface where one-four wheels rest in the middle. A person stands at both ends of the glass and wheels the pane to its destination.

When it is not safe to move glass on a dolly, other great options are trolleys, carts, and racks. They secure glass better than a dolly, and some of them can hold more than one pane of glass. They are available in a variety of weight capacities, and each has features that make glass transportation easy and safe. The wheels on these transport pieces are built to easily roll over uneven surfaces and absorb shock.

Power tugs

Power tugs are great to accompany other glass equipment or just a regular platform. Moving the glass-loaded trolleys, racks, and carts can be a difficult job. In addition to the weight of the load, extra force is needed to push wheels over obstacles and uneven surfaces. This is strenuous for the worker and can cause the cart to tip over. Some racks are made with forklift hoops so that lift trucks can move them around. This spares the strain of moving, but it isn’t necessarily safer. With something as fragile as glass, keeping materials close to the ground is the safest way to transport. Power tugs can attach to the carts, racks, or trolleys and substitute manually pushing or pulling them. The operator controls the speeds, and the tug is easily and effortlessly maneuvered. This eliminates the concerns of rolling over uneven surfaces as well as fitting through narrow paths.

When trolleys, carts, or racks aren’t used to transport glass, a power tug will help safely push or pull anything else on wheels. Sometimes doors or glass panes are secured to a platform on wheels. Power tugs can be designed to fit any kind of hitch, so they’re useful in moving anything on wheels. They offer a smooth, controlled ride for whatever precious cargo they are tugging.

The greatest concerns in moving glass are damaging the product and injuring oneself. It is often necessary to use more than one kind of equipment to handle glass safely. Whatever you choose to handle glass, don’t forget about the physical impact it has on the manual material handlers. If your chosen method puts a strain on workers, it can cause fatigue and injury. Consider whether a power tug will best enable the safest, most productive work.

Load Mover Inc. is a company that builds quality power tugs that reduce injury and increase productivity in manual material handling. They are popular with companies who switch to lean, green, and just-in-time operations. Their applications vary immensely. For more information on Load Movers, search this site, email info@loadmoverinc.com, or call 952-767-1720.