Single innovation cuts risk from two construction hazards
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has drawn attention to a new concrete drill jig developed by a University of California ergonomics team as a means of limiting worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica, as well reducing fatigue and risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
The jig can drive multiple large hammer drills at different angles and heights, and is mounted on a base that allows it to move easily around a construction site. A vacuum collects dust generated by the drill bit.
David Rempel, MD, director of the Ergonomics Program at UC Berkeley told OSHA:
“The idea to put a drill on the end of a pole has been around for a while. The current design is successful because we listened to the feedback from the many construction workers who used earlier designs.
We tackled drilling into concrete because plumbers, electricians and laborers report that is one of the most fatiguing and injury prone tasks that they do.”
The drill jig is proving to be highly effective in reducing risk of exhaustion, musculoskeletal disorders and RCS exposure. It is also said to increase productivity.
Lower respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust levels
The UC team measured respirable silica dust levels when drilling into concrete using a pneumatic rock drill by hand and also drilled with the jig with the dust extraction fitted.
Using the usual power tool held by hand for drilling silica dust levels were 14 times higher than the recommended exposure limit.
Using the jig and dust-capturing device reduced the level to below the recommended exposure limit.