Solution Summary: Powered Rebar Cutter/Bender
A powered rebar cutter is an engineering control that may help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity and stooped postures. A powered rebar cutter is a portable hand-held tool that can cut rebar on the jobsite.
There are different types of powered rebar cutter/benders. These tools generally weigh between 20 to 40 pounds, are portable and can be operated by one worker to bend and cut rebar on the jobsite. They can also be used to bend and cut rebar into the appropriate size before being placed. Some models have the ability to cut and bend rebar that has already been placed in a wall, column, or walkway.
The DBC-16H from Benner-Nawman, Inc. weighs 40 lbs and has a 10 Amp/120 V motor (Figure 1). It has the capability to cut and bend up to No. 5 grade 60 rebar with a maximal bending angle of 180 degrees. It has the ability to bend and cut rebar that is already in place at the jobsite.
Figure 1. The BDC-16H Rebar Cutter and Bender from Benner-Nawman. (Photo courtesy of BN Products - USA, LLC.)
The BNCE-20 from Benner-Nawman, Inc. weighs 7.6 lbs and has a 9 Amp/120 V motor (Figure 2). This lightweight tool has the capability to cut rebar with the capacity to cut up to the depth .860 inches.
Figure 2. The BNCE-20 Cutting Edge Saw from Benner-Nawman. (Photo courtesy of BN Products - USA, LLC.)
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 rebar cutter/bender can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by allowing the worker to quickly and easily bend and cut rebar without manually bending it by using a leverage pipe or cutting it with a hack saw.
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 rebar cutter/bender can help reduce stooped postures by allowing the worker to quickly and easily bend and cut rebar at a workstation.
How Risks are Reduced:
A powered rebar cutter/bender reduces stressful hand and wrist activity and stooped postures because it is a powered combination tool that can bend and cut rebar with less stress on the worker compared to traditional methods (leveraging with a hollow pipe while holding down the rebar with a foot) and cutting rebar with a hack saw.
Effects on Productivity:
A rebar cutter/bender may increase productivity by decreasing the time and effort it takes to bend and cut rebar at the jobsite.
It is recommended to learn proper tool usage and safety practices. Employees should allow the tool to do the work and should arrange the work so that they can stand upright and use the tool with the elbows close to the body.
Using the DBC-16H from Benner-Nawman to cut or bend rebar that has been placed may eliminate this tool’s benefit to reducing stooped postures.
Cuts and pinches from using this tool must be considered. Always operate tools in accordance to the operator's manual. See Cuts and Punctures from Tools for more details.
Due to the weight of the power rebar cutters, limit the frequency and duration of use to prevent MSDs. Appropriate handle widths and/or padded handles are important in reducing excessive grip force. If possible a two handed grip should be used as long as the hands are not near the point of operation or pinch points.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; Benjamin Tucker, SPT; and Jesse Brouwer, SPT – Eastern Washington University