Solution Summary: Manual Materials Shear
The Manual Materials Shear, such as the EZ Shear, is an engineering control that may help reduce stressful hand & wrist activity and hand-arm vibration. Traditional cutting of flooring and siding uses powered cutting tools, the EZ Shear is a manual cutting device that reduces stresful hand &wrist activity and hand-arm vibration in these cutting tasks. This tool can be used to cut a wide variety of building materials manually.
There are several types of Manual Materials Shears. These shears can be used to cut a wide variety of building materials including laminate, engineered and hardwood flooring, carpet tiles, vinyl tiles, cement siding, tar shingles, and many other types of building materials.
The Bullet Tools EZ Shear Flooring Cutter was tested for force required to cut wood laminate flooring and fiber cement board. An average of 31.6 ft-lbs of force was required to cut wood laminate flooring. An average of 42.3 ft-lbs of force was required to cut fiber cement board.
The Bullet tools EZ Shear Flooring Cutter comes with a 13 inch or 20 inch wide chrome vanadium steel cutting blade. The EZ Shear Flooring Cutter features a two-position fence for 90 degree and 45 degree cuts on multiple flooring products. It has a 1inch opening giving it the ability to cut most engineered and laminate flooring products up to 5/8 inch.
Figure 1. The Bullet Tools 20 inch EZ Shear Flooring Cutter.
The Bullet Tools Magnum Flooring and Siding Shear comes in 9 inch, 13 inch, and 20 inch sizes. This shear is a heavy duty model of the EZ Shear, able to cut laminate & hardwood flooring as well as siding and roofing. Depending upon the model, the shear can handle cuts up to 20 inches wide and 1 inch thick on many products.
Figure 2. The Bullet Tools 20 inch Magnum Flooring and Siding Shear.
The Bullet Tools Magnum Soft Flooring Shear comes in various sizes ranging from 20 inch cutters to 40 inch cutters. These models are designed to be able to cut Resilient & Carpet Tile (RCT) vinyl tile, luxury vinyl, as well as siding, plywood, and shingles.
Figure 3. The Bullet Tools 26 inch Magnum Soft Flooring Shear.
The Malco Guillotine Shear is able to cut most laminate flooring and fiber cement siding. It features a large stable plate with board-stop that supports material to ensure square, straight cuts up to 8-1/4 inches long and can cut materials up to 5/16 inch thick. There is also a model that can make angled cuts in fiber cement boards.
Figure 4. The Malco Guillotine Shear.
Stressful hand & wrist activity, and 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. A Manual Materials Shear can help reduce stressful hand & wrist activity by reducing the torque necessary to cut building materials compared to hand tools.
How Risks are Reduced:
A Manual Materials Shear minimizes stressful hand & wrist activity because their long lever arms decrease the amount of torque a laborer must use allowing them to easily cut various building materials when compared to hand tools.
Bullet Tools states, “[The EZ Shear’s] strong power assembly, handle and frame, coupled with a rectangular table shape, make this shear powerful yet easier to operate."
Malco states, "Long-life nickel plated blade design with high leverage handle [of the Guillotine Shear] requires less force to produce clean cuts and minimal air-borne dust."
Safety and health experts believe a Manual Materials Shear will help to reduce stressful hand & wrist activity as they have long lever arms allowing laborers to cut building materials with less torque when compared to hand tools.
Effects on Productivity:
A Manual Materials Shear may increase productivity by reducing the time it takes for workers to make cuts on various building materials.
A Manual Materials Shear has the added benefit of being quiet, dustless, and works without electricity.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; and Benjamin Tucker, SPT – Eastern Washington University