Solution Summary: Powered Caulking Guns
A power caulking gun is an engineering control that can reduce musculoskeletal disorders from stressful hand activities. A battery (cordless gun) or compressed air (pneumatic gun) provides the power to force the caulk from the gun. These power tools require access to a power source such as an electrical outlet or generator to charge the batteries in a cordless gun, or an air compressor to power a pneumatic gun. Some guns have a variable speed control to manage sealant flow. When you use a pneumatic gun, the hose may produce some resistance (or "drag”) on the tool, possibly increasing the grip force necessary.
A worker using a cordless Milwaukee caulking gun (Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Tool)
Using a non-powered caulking gun requires high hand forces to pull the trigger. If you use these guns often and for long periods of time, you are at risk of stressing the soft tissues in your hand, wrist, and forearm. This can lead to serious muscle or joint injuries.
The more pressure your gun requires to pull the trigger (low mechanical advantage), the higher your chance of injury. You may have to use even more force when you apply thicker sealant material. If you have to bend your wrist or twist your forearm when pulling the trigger, you also increase your chance of injury.
Your chance of developing an injury increases if the gun you use has sharp edges or grooves on the trigger, or has a wide span between the trigger and the grip, forcing you to stretch your hand.
A power caulking gun, which may be powered by a battery or compressed air, eliminates the need for pulling the trigger to apply the caulk or sealant. There are a variety of manufacturers and models, many of which are listed below.
Battery Powered Caulking Guns:
The Milwaukee M18 Cordless 10oz Caulk Gun uses an 18 volt rechargeable battery and holds standard 10z containers (figure 1.). It weighs 5.8 pounds and delivers up to 950 pounds of dispensing force. The flow rate is controlled by a 6-setting speed dial which allows for 0-21 inches per minute. Milwaukee has many other models to accomodate for different size cartridges.
(Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Tool)
Stressful hand & 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 power caulking gun can reduce stressful hand & wrist activity by decreasing the grip force and hand pressure during operation.
How Risks are Reduced:
A power caulking gun minimizes stressful hand & wrist activity because it decreases the force needed to pull the trigger.
A manufacturer states, "Caulk Master can dramatically increase your productivity and make it easier for you to produce the perfect bead...all while reducing fatigue and the chance of injury."
Safety and health experts believe that power caulking tools will help to reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by decreasing the grip force and hand pressure during operation.
Effects on Productivity:
A power caulking tool may increase productivity by dispensing product at a increased rate while reducing user fatigue.
Access to a power source is necessary for operation. This may be an electrical outlet or generator to charge the batteries in a cordless gun, or an air compressor to power a pneumatic gun. When you use a pneumatic gun, the hose may produce some resistance (or "drag”) on the tool, possibly increasing the grip force necessary.
To obtain information, visit http://www.dewalt.com or contact 1-800-433-9258
Milwaukee M18 Cordless 10oz Caulk Gun
To obtain information, visit http://www.milwaukeetool.com or contact 1-800-729-3878
To obtain information, visit http://www.albioneng.com or contact 1-856-235-6688
Ryobi 18 Volt One+ Caulk Gun
To obtain information, visit http://www.ryobitools.com or contact 1-800-525-2579