Rubberized Handle Trowels

A rubberized handle trowel is a tool with a rubber grip that smooth, spread and finish concrete.

Description:

The rubberized hand trowel is an engineering control that may help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity.  This hand trowel is a device used to smooth concrete, and has a rubberized handle that may help reduce the amount of stress on the operator's wrists and hands. 

A trowel is a tool used for smoothing poured concrete. Trowels are also used to spread additional coatings onto finished concrete, such as sealants and adhesives. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes which make them convenient for small spaces that are not easily reached by larger trowel devices.
 
The trowel has two main parts: the blade and the handle. The handle is an important part, as this is where the operator holds the tool. Handles are made from many different types of materials, including wood, hard plastic, and rubber. Trowels with rubberized handles may help to decrease stress on the operator’s hands.

rubberized handle trowel    
Figure 1. An example of a rubberized hand trowel
     another rubberized handle trowel
Figure 2. Second example of a rubberized hand trowel.

Many variables should be considered when choosing a hand tool, such as shape of handle, length of grip, and grip surface. An optimal grip surface is made of non-slip, semi-pliable material. Trowels with rubber handles decrease stress on the hand and wrist while maintaining the best grip possible. 


Risks Addressed:

Stressful hand and wrist activity can cause musculoskeletal disorders (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.  The rubberized hand trowel can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by providing workers with a more optimal grip.


How Risks are Reduced:

Using a rubber handled trowel reduces the risk of hand and wrist injuries by decreasing the amount of contact stress felt experienced by the worker. Trowel use is a repetitive activity, and rubber handled trowels are designed to reduce the chance of injury.
Although no studies have specifically looked at rubberized hand trowels, Independent published studies support using soft, pliable material for a grip surface. Conversely, the surface should not be too soft, as it requires increased grip strength. Soft material increases the contact area and decreased the contact stress of the hands. Soft handles also decrease the amount of grip force needed.
 
Manufacturers claim that soft grip handles are more comfortable for users. Since trowelling is not a precision task, the handle can be larger than those for precision tasks and accommodate the soft handle. Health and safety experts also believe there is a risk reduction when using rubber handled trowels.

Effects on Productivity:

Rubber handled trowels have little or no effect on productivity.

Contributors:

Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC and Cassie Malecha, DPT – Eastern Washington University


Hazards Addressed:

Availability

Marshalltown Company Rubberized Handle Trowels
To obtain information, visit http://www.marshalltown.com or contact 1-800-888-0127

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.