Solution Summary: Puller Attachment for Cordless Drill
A puller attachment for a cordless drill is an engineering control that reduces repetitive pulling motions. These movements, especially from an overhead posture, put workers at an increased risk for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This solution reduces these risks by providing a constant mechanical pull force generated by the power of a cordless drill.
Pulling wire or cable through conduit can place large amounts of strain on the back, shoulders, and wrist. In addition, workers often pull through conduit in awkward positions and while working overhead.
Pullers attachments for cordless drills that provide constant mechanical pulling power. The first step in using a wire puller is to attach a pull rope to the wire. After the pull rope is securely fastened, the rope is fed through the wire puller and wrapped around a spool at the base of the device. Most wire pullers have built in pulleys for work at different angles and heights. To operate, the worker squeezes the trigger of the drill and carefully feed the rope off the spool as it pulls wire through the conduit.
While there may be many makes and models of puller attachments for cordless drills with a variety of specifications. This is not a comprehensive list of examples on what is available in the market:
Greenlee G1 Versi-Tugger™
- Handheld, Cordless Puller
- Unload Poly Line In Seconds After A Pull - Line slides off tapered capstan when spool wall is removed, no need to reverse the drill
- Works most 18- to 20-volt cordless drills
- Weight: 16.8 pounds (without drill)
- Adjustable boom - The 17-inch rotatable boom quickly adjusts to fit each job with 3 length positions to choose from. Extend the boom with 1-inch rigid conduit
- Universal Pulling Head - One-size-fits-all pulling head attaches quickly to any size conduit from ½-inch to 4-inch
- 600 pounds of constant pulling force
(Photo courtesy of CPWR - Rosendin Site Visit)
Southwire Maxis® XD1 Extreme Duty Circuit Puller
- Adaptable: Removable capstan to facilitate use with polyline
- Rugged design: Anodized for corrosion resistance and a field replaceable chuck adapter
- Easy operation: The XD1 has a lightweight design and is portable for one person setup and operation
- Compatible: Accepts most commercial 18-volt drills
- Weight: 8 pounds (without drill)
- Removable capstan to facilitate polyline removal
- Expandable length up to 34.5 inches
- Polyline pin on capstan to prevent slippage during the pull
- Lightweight and portable
- Field replaceable chuck adapter
- 600 pounds of constant pulling force with 1000 pounds peak pulling force
(Photo courtesy of Southwire Company, LLC)
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.
Overhead work can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as shoulder muscle strains; tendonitis, or rotator cuff tears.
Stressful hand and wrist activity can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle strains; tendonitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
How Risks are Reduced:
There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of mechanical wire pullers. However, safety and health experts believe there is a reduction in risk. Independent studies have shown an association between MSDs and risk factors such as forceful hand exertions and awkward postures (Bernard et al., 1997). Forceful pulling has also been associated with increased risk of low back injury. According to Hunter et al. (2009), pulling large and heavy cables over long distances and in awkward locations can present a high risk for developing MSDs.
By using a mechanical device to replace the forceful part of pulling wire, workers can avoid forceful exertions in awkward or overhead postures. This solution can help reduce risks associated with overhead work because it uses mechanical force to wind wires and cables.
By standing while working, the spine and knees will remain in a neutral position, minimizing strain and muscle fatigue. Biomechanical research shows that high compression forces occur in the spine while stooping, and that sustained or repeated flexion of the spine may decrease the stability of the lower back and increase the risk of fatigue, leaving the back more vulnerable to injury. Puller attachments for cordless drills have adjustable lengths to cater to the workers' different heights allowing more comfortable postures.
Lastly, this solution can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by eliminating the need to manually hand-pull wires and cables.
By using a mechanical device to perform the forceful part of pulling wire, the worker avoids forceful exertions in awkward or overhead postures.
There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of mechanical wire pullers. However, safety and health experts believe there is a reduction in risk. Independent studies have shown an association between MSDs and risk factors such as forceful hand exertions and awkward postures (Bernard et al., 1997). Forceful pulling has also been associated with increased risk of low back injury. According to Hunter et al. (2009), pulling large and heavy cables over long distances and in awkward locations can present a high risk for developing MSDs. There is also an increased risk of slipping or falling during the exertion.
As is the case with any construction tool and equipment, users should follow manufacturer safety recommendations and comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations.
Jean Christophe Le, MPH - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training