Solution Summary: Powered Drill with Rotary Brush and Reaming Attachment
A power drill with a rotary brush or reaming attachment is an engineering control that can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activities. The power tool may have a pistol or inline grip and will rotate the attachments replacing the motions of manual cleaning movements.
Use a power drill screwdriver with a rotary brush or reaming attachment, instead of hand brush or reaming tools. Frequent use of a wire brush to clean or ream pipes, grates, and other building materials can strain your hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows. Using the brush may be light work, but you must bend your wrist and use fast pulling, pushing, or rotating motions. If you do this work often, you can be at risk of a serious muscle or joint injury.
Your chance of developing a serious injury increases when you have to apply high hand force to the brush or use a pinch grip to hold it. If you wear loose-ftting, thick gloves, the brush may be harder to hold and require more force.
The photos below provide an example of the problem, and an illustration of the solution:
(Photo courtesy of NIOSH)
The power tool rotates the brush for you. Choose a power tool with a soft, non-slip handle (plastic or rubber covering). The handle should be large enough to fit your whole hand. It should not have sharp edges or ridges. You will need less hand strength to grip this type of handle than to grip a brush. The smaller handles on manual wire brushes must be gripped with a few fingers, rather than with the full hand. This requires more muscle force.
There will be less localized pressure on your hand because the handle won't dig into your skin. There also will be fewer rapid movement of your hand, wrist, and forearm. The rotation of the power tool replaces the motions necessary with the manual wire brush.
Many power tools can help keep your wrist straight. Some have handles that change from in-line to pistol-grip (two-way handles). These prevent awkward wrist positions because the tool bends—not your wrist. Or, depending on the location of the work, you can use a power tool with either a pistol grip or inline handle, whichever best reduces wrist bending in each situation.
Manual cleaning or reaming operations requiring bending, fast pulling, pushing or rotating of the wrist and gripping small surface areas on a tool can cause wrist tendonitis (inflammation of tendons) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is compression of a wrist nerve, resulting in finger numbness and loss of hand strength. A power drill with rotary brush and reaming attachments can help eliminate manual cleaning or reaming operations.
How Risks are Reduced:
Using a power tool with the wire brush should result in less strain on your hand, wrist, forearm, and elbow. The work is faster than using a brush by hand. You do need access to a power source. This may be an electrical outlet or generator to run a corded tool or to charge the batteries in a cordless one.
Reduced exposure frequency and repetitions or duration of wrist twisting should reduce probability of injury.
Effects on Productivity:
Using a power tool with the wire brush should result in less strain on your hand, wrist, forearm, and elbow. It will also improve productivity because the work is faster than using a brush by hand.
You do need access to a power source. This may be an electrical outlet or generator to run a corded tool or to change the batteries in a cordless one.
Makita Wire Brushes (power drill sold separately)
To obtain information, visit Material Removal or contact 1-800-462-5482
Craftsman Drill Attachments (power drill sold separately)
To obtain information, visit http://www.craftsman.com or contact http://www.craftsman.com/cscontactus/nb-100000000227055?adCell=W3