Solution Summary: Insulation Cutting Tools
Insulation cutting tools use non-traditional cutting techniques and engineering designs to reduce the stress of cutting insulation.
Insulation cutting tools are engineering controls that may help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity. These tools use non-traditional cutting techniques and engineering designs to reduce the stress of cutting insulation.
There are different tools available for cutting either rigid foam or batt insulation.
The CenterFire Insulation Knife Kit (figure 1) comes with a removable blade and a sharpener. The 7 inch blade features a specialty grind to more easily cut denim, mineral wool, and polyester. This material can be more difficult and fatiguing to cut with conventional knives.
Figure 1. CenterFire Insulation Knife Kit (Photo courtesy of Marshalltown)
The CenterFire Shut-N-Cut (figure 2) uses a clamp to hold nearly any type of insulation in place during cutting. The tool compresses the insulation by 80% and is designed for use with an EZTM Insulation Knife.
Figure 2. CenterFire Shut-N-Cut (Photo courtesy of Marshalltown)
The Insul-KnifeTM is a multi-purpose insulation cutting knife (figure 3). The tool can be used for cutting and trimming most types of insulation. The thin blade design and handle shape make this knife unique and easier to use than a conventional knife. The Insul-KnifeTM is especially helpful for cutting cotton fiber insulation materials.
Figure 3. The Insul-KnifeTM cutting rigid foam insulation. (Photo courtesy of CEPCO Tool Company)
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. Insulation cutting tools can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity through many different means. The MAGNUM Rigid Foam CutterTM cuts rigid insulation board as the worker pushes the material through a blade, without repetitive stressful hand and wrist activity. The MAGNUM Shut-N-CutTM and EZTM Insulation Knife combine compression and a specialty blade grind to decrease user force and repetition during the cutting of insulation. The Insul-KnifeTM uses a unique blade design and shape that may help reduce hand and wrist activity during cutting insulation.
How Risks are Reduced:
Insulation cutting tools minimize stressful hand and wrist activity through specialty blade designs and through tools where workers can cut insulation without repetitive hand and wrist movement.
Bullet Tools states,”[The EZ Insulation knife has an] …optimized cutting angle that reduces fatigue…”
Safety and health experts believe insulation cutting tools will help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity through specialty blade designs and tools where workers can cut insulation without repetitive hand and wrist movement.
Effects on Productivity:
Insulation cutting tools may increase productivity by decreasing the time needed for cutting insulation.
Always follow manufacture safety guidelines when using insulation cutting tools.
MAGNUM tools can reduce the amount of dust and debris during cutting. Bullet Tools claims the “CenterFire Foam Blade [used in the Rigid Foam CutterTM] eliminates over 95% of static foam dust.” Also, the MAGNUM EZ Insulation Knife can cut fiber and foam without the fumes generated by a heated blade or hot wire.
An additional option for cutting rigid insulation is using a sharpened putty knife as described in the following video:
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; and Jesse Brouwer, SPT – Eastern Washington University