Solution Summary: Powered Carpet Puller
Manually removing commercial carpet can place large amounts of strain on the back, shoulders, and wrist. A powered carpet pulling machine has an electric motor that pulls large areas of commercial carpet.
A powered carpet puller, such as the Powered Carpet Puller 71 or 72 by National Flooring Equipment (figure 1), is a pulling machine that contains a winch using a high-polymer, low-stretch cord attached to a pull bar. The winch cord is 3/8-inch in diameter by 50 feet long and the shark-toothed pullbar is 46-inch wide for both models. While both models utilize the same power consumption (115/230 voltage), the 71 model produces 1 horsepower generating a pull speed of 15 to 22 feet per minute while the 72 model has 1.5 horsepower and pulls up to 30 feet per minute. In addition, the weight of the model 72 is 190 pounds, five pounds more than the model 71 (185 pounds).
Figure 1. The National Flooring Equipment Model 71 pulling a commercial carpet (source: www.nationalequipment.com)
Repetitive bending and pulling in stooped postures can cause low back disorders, 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. A powered carpet puller reduces the risks of musculoskeletal disorders associated with repetitive pulling because the manual labor of pulling is eliminated.
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. A powered carpet puller can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by eliminating the need to manually pull carpet.
How Risks are Reduced:
By using a powered mechanical device to perform the forceful part of pulling carpet, the worker avoids forceful exertions in stooped postures as well as stressful hand and wrist activities. A powered carpet puller is operated in an upright position by a start switch once its pull bar is attached to the carpet.
There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of powered carpet pullers. However, safety and health experts believe there is a reduction in risk. Independent studies have shown an association between MSDs and risk factors such as forceful hand exertions and awkward postures (Bernard et al., 1997).
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.
Le, Jean Christophe, MPH - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training