Solution Summary: Multi-Directional Mobile Concrete Drill Press
The multi-directional mobile concrete drill press, such as Drill BossTM is an engineering control that may help reduce overhead work, kneeling and squatting, stooped postures, and hand-arm vibration. A multi-directional mobile concrete drill press is a moveable jig that gives workers the ability to control a drill from a few feet away, and can adjust to allow drilling in any direction.
The DrillBossTM allows for easier and more comfortable operation during drilling tasks. By adjusting the jig to drill overhead, workers can avoid strenuous overhead work (Figure 1). DrillBossTM can also be repositioned to allow for down-drilling, reducing the need for workers to kneel, squat, or maintain stooped postures (Figure 2).
Figure 1. Workers using DrillBossTM for overhead drilling (Photo courtesy of ErgoMek LLC.)
Figure 2. DrillBossTM positioned for down-drilling (Photo courtesy of ErgoMek LLC.)
DrillBossTM is designed to reduce the amount of vibration that the worker is exposed to by positioning the operator a distance from the drilling site (Figure 3). The DrillBossTM has both a compression spring and a rubber handle that absorbs vibration before it reaches the worker.
Figure 3. Worker using DrillBossTM for lateral concrete drilling (Photo courtesy of ErgoMek LLC.)
Workers can mount and operate up to two drills at a time with DrillBossTM (Figure 4).
Figure 4. DrillBossTM set-up with two drills (Photo courtesy of ErgoMek LLC.)
Overhead work can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as shoulder muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of the tendons; or rotator cuff tears, which is a rupture of a shoulder tendon. The DrillBossTM can help reduce overhead work by driving a drill in any direction. Workers needing to drill overhead are able to adjust DrillBossTM to the appropriate height, and remain in a neutral upright position while operating.
Prolonged kneeling and squatting can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as osteoarthritis of the knee (degenerative joint disease), which is deterioration of the cartilage between knee joints causing bone on bone contact. 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. The DrillBossTM can help reduce kneeling, squatting, and stooped postures by adjusting to drill in directions that would otherwise cause workers to sustain these postures.
- Hand-arm vibration 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 DrillBossTM can help reduce hand-arm vibration by diffusing vibrations through a built in compression spring and rubber handle.
How Risks are Reduced:
A DrillBossTM minimizes overhead work because it adjusts to allow the worker to complete overhead drilling tasks while keeping head, neck, shoulders, back and arms in a more natural position. Kneeling, squatting and stooped postures are minimized because the drill can be adjusted to allow the worker to stand while drilling downward. Hand-arm vibration is reduced because a built-in compression spring and rubber handle absorb the vibration before it reaches the user.
The manufacturer states, “Workers are better protected. Stress/strains are reduced. Vibration, which is wearing, is nearly eliminated. Workers like the DrillBossTM!”
Safety and health experts believe that DrillBossTM will reduce musculoskeletal disorders caused by working overhead, kneeling, squatting and stooped postures. Although there are no independent studies measuring the effect of DrillBossTM on the need for workers to work overhead or at ground-level, studies show a relationship between overhead work/kneeling/squatting/stooped postures and musculoskeletal disorders (Gallagher 2005; Svendsen 2004).
Safety and health experts also believe DrillBossTM will help to hand-arm vibration because it is a jig device that eliminates the need for workers to handle the vibrating drill. DrillBossTM also features an anti-vibration handle that reduces the amount of vibration that reaches the worker (Griffin et al. 2006).
Effects on Productivity:
A Multi-Directional Mobile Concrete Drill Press may increase productivity by reducing the amount of work necessary to complete drilling tasks. Overhead work, kneeling, squatting, and stooped postures all increase work demands on a worker’s body. By eliminating the need to be in these postures, DrillBossTM may allow workers to complete more tasks before getting tired.
DrillBossTM distances the driver from the worksite, which may reduce worker exposure to silica dust that is released in the air during drilling tasks. However, it may be necessary to wear a high-efficiency particulate respirator during operation.
Due to the cost, only larger contractors will likely use DrillBossTM.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; and Elizabeth Seidl, SPT – Eastern Washington University