Ergo Digging

TurboSpade Pneumatic Digging Tool

Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. This popular expression describes the physical toll a typical gas utility worker endures every day by working outside in the elements. Routine tasks such as shoveling, bar holing, or lifting heavy equipment dramatically put the body at risk for injuries. According to a Pipeline and Gas Journal article, many injuries reported are not catastrophic one-time occurrences but instead may occur, with repetition and overexertion, over several years. Strain or sprain injuries accounted for 43.6% of all reported injuries for local distribution companies. Gas worker injury statistics indicate that each time an individual files a lost-time injury claim; it costs the utility between $20,000 and $30,000. Additionally, these types of injuries often occur to the most common group of field personnel. The average age of an injured worker is 38, and the 31 to 40 age group experienced more injuries than any other group surveyed. The cost to recruit and train replacements can be significant, and both work quality and productivity suffer.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year. Preventing back injuries will always be a challenge. However, in a recent study, it was determined that up to one-third of back injuries could be prevented through better job design (ergonomics). Equipment design can have a significant impact on decreasing everyday pain many field workers experiences, as well as the long-term injuries that curtail productivity and pull experienced workers out of the field.

Excavation is often the largest cost for most projects and losing workers due to a work-related injury is an even larger cost. The TurboSpade offered by PLCS is an ergonomic pneumatic tool that may help decrease work-related strains or back injuries when performing the daily repetitive task of digging in a keyhole or traditional excavations. The ultra-lightweight tool weighs about 13 lbs for the most common model, which is at least 43% lighter than most tools in its class. The robust TurboSpade, constructed with a special plastic frost-proof body, uses a low consumption of air to produce a high percussion of power with less vibration. The tool is armed with a variety of quick-change bits to loosen difficult earth, break concrete, rock, asphalt or frozen ground. The TurboSpade may be one tool to add to the digging arsenal to increase excavation production and to decrease injury claims, keeping workers healthy and injury-free.

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