Solution Summary: Cordless Pressing Machines
Cordless pressing machines is an engineering control that can help reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) from manual crimping to join pipe and connect fittings. Cordless pressing machines make durable connections with the pull of a trigger.
Connecting copper, steel, or PEX tubing by workers requires the use of manual crimping devices to join pipe and connect fittings. Cordless pressing machines like the RIDGID RP 330 pressing tool can make durable connections with minimal force required by the user (Figure 1).
Forceful gripping is stressful on the hand and wrist, and may increase risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Plumbers have to forcefully grip when they manually crimp pipe. Additionally, crimping causes increased contact stress on the hand. In contrast, cordless pressing machines do the forceful work for the plumber. The user only has to press the trigger and hold the unit while it crimps the pipe. The handle on these machines comfortably center the weight of the tool over the hand and are battery operated.
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 cordless pressing machine can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by allowing workers to complete pressing tasks with a battery operated device rather than using manual crimping devices.
How Risks are Reduced:
Handheld pressing machines reduce the forceful exertions and contact stress from using crimping tools.
There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of using handheld pressing machines on the incidence of MSDs. However, independent studies have shown an association between risk factors such as forceful exertions, awkward wrist postures, and contact stresses in the hand and MSDs. (Thomsen et al. 2007)
Health and safety experts believe workers will be less likely to develop musculoskeletal disorders if they reduce forceful hand exertions by using tools such as cordless pressing machines.
Effects on Productivity:
Cordless pressing machines may increase productivity by increasing the speed at which pressing tasks can be completed and reducing worker fatigue.
Cordless pressing machines reduce the chance of soldering and brazing-related fires. No flame or heat is needed to make a pressed pipe connection, and no torches or gas tanks are required on the jobsite.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC and Zack Sinner, SPT – Eastern Washington University