Solution Summary: Spring-Assisted Drywall Finishing Tools
A spring-assisted drywall finishing tool is an engineering control that can reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) from stooping and overhead work. It consists of a drywall finishing tool mounted on an extension handle that is powered by mechanical spring force. With spring-powered flat boxes, the springs provide up to 75% of the force needed to push the compound onto the wall. Spring-powered corner tools provide 100% of the force needed to finish corners.
If you use typical flat joint or corner joint “mudboxes” for drywall finishing, you need to use a lot of strength to push the compound out of the box. The forceful, repetitive pushing motions combined with reaching overhead can cause fatigue. Eventually this work can lead to serious wrist, arm, shoulder, and back injuries.
With a flat joint mudbox, you often have to push hard while bending your wrist and back. When you bend like this while pushing forcefully, you increase your chance of developing a muscle or joint injury. Your risk is higher when you do the same job over and over.
Finishers say that corner boxes require them to push even harder than flat boxes, because you have to squeeze the compound into a tighter space.
The photo on the left shows the problem, while the photo on the right illustrates the solution.
(Photo courtesy of ELCOSH)
(Photo courtesy of ELCOSH)
A spring-powered finishing tool does most of the pushing for you. Spring-powered flat boxes and corner tools are available that cut down significantly on the strain caused by pushing.
With spring-powered flat boxes, the springs provide up to 75% of the force needed to push the compound onto the wall. Spring-powered corner tools provide 100% of the force needed to finish corners.
Wrist, arm, shoulder, and back injuries associated with the repetitive motions involved in drywall finishing.
How Risks are Reduced:
Spring-powered finishing tools reduce or eliminate the pushing associated with manual drywall finishing mudboxes, thus reducing the likelihood of injury or illness due to bending while pushing forcefully.
Reducing the forces that need to be exerted to perform a task that involves awkward postures and overhead work will reduce the risk of injury. Spring loaded pans require less force to extrude joint compound or mud.
Effects on Productivity:
A spring-powered mudbox should reduce a worker’s chance of developing a muscle or joint injury.
Also consider pneumatic and other finishing tool options depending on the scale of your project. Spring loaded mudboxes are commonly available for rent in most regions of the US.
NIOSH Workplace Solutions Sheet
The National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published a series of “Workplace Solutions”, which are easy-to-understand recommendations from NIOSH research results. Related to this Construction Solution, please find more information on: Preventing Injuries from Installing Drywall