052 HPM 1115

HPM November 2015

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SPECIALREPORT How much are your hands worth? Mark Haywood, Bahco’s UK managing director, brings ergonomic tools into the spotlight and explains the major role they can play in protecting the hands of plumbers and heating installers... Many professional musicians insure their hands, often for millions of pounds, against the risk they may not be able to use them. Ensuring that their hands are protected and remain in good working order is equally important to plumbers and heating installers. Every time you grip a hand tool you activate 42 different hand muscles. ‘So what,’ you might say. But how would you cope if, over time, you experience painful conditions such as repetitive strain injury? Even the toughest hands are not immune to these. According to independent medical studies, musculo-skeletal disorders, the term used to describe a variety of conditions which affect the muscles, bones and joints, cause more than half of work-related health problems. They are one of the biggest causes of people taking time off work. For the self-employed trade professional, the downside of not being able to work hardly needs spelling out. Despite this risk, many professionals take a ‘tough guy’ approach when they could choose to protect their hands by using ergonomic tools. Having designed the first ergonomic screwdriver over 30 years ago, the manufacturer of Bahco branded tools, SNA Europe, take a close interest in professionals’ attitudes to protecting their hands. When we ask trade professionals about this issue we are surprised by some responses. Many dismiss the threat of hand muscle damage as a risk which ‘comes with the job’ and some younger people take the view that it’s not worth worrying about. HEALTH-RELATED ISSUES We understand their point of view and recognise they have to balance health-related issues, which they no doubt acknowledge as important, with their day-to-day need to manage workload pressures and meet the demands of customers or employers. We’re also aware that the small extra cost of ergonomic hand tools could deter some people, especially when budgets are tight. But we believe it is worth paying a little more to protect valuable hands from muscle strain or injury. It’s not just the design of ergonomic tools which make them better to use. High-tech manufacturing materials and components enable each tool to deliver maximum performance and durability, with handles providing better grip and maximum comfort in all working conditions. Ergonomic tools are designed to fit the human hand, minimising the level of grip strength Today’s ergonomic wrenches protect even the toughest hands from strain or injury required and allowing muscles to relax periodically, reducing the risk of static muscle fatigue. This enables work to be done more efficiently, safely and in maximum comfort. To create ergonomic tools Bahco devised a multi-step scientific programme which is still in use today. Each idea for a new product is discussed with independent tool users, as well as industrial designers and ergonomists. They focus on what tasks the tool would be used for, how it would be handled and in what type of workplace. A prototype is then tested by independent tool users and the results analysed. Their feedback leads to changes being made and to more prototypes and testing until everyone is satisfied that every requirement has been met. Only when Bahco’s design manager has certified that the rigorous research and development process has been followed will the new tool be manufactured. These tools are marked with the Bahco ERGO trademark first registered in 1984. Every year Bahco adds new ergonomic tools to its range and there are now more than 550 different types available. A good example is the 9031P reversible jaw adjustable wrench, one of the most popular adjustables in the Bahco range. Featuring advanced ergonomic design, which cuts down the risk of hand muscle strain or injury, its wide jaw opens to 38mm, larger than a standard 12” wrench and 40% bigger than a standard 8” wrench. Its reversible moving jaw enables the serrated side to be used as a pipe wrench while a slip free, ergonomically designed thermoplastic handle sleeve provides maximum grip in all working conditions. Bahco’s heavy duty ERGO side cutting pliers are tested to withstand over 50,000 cuts of hard wire, such as piano wire, up to 3mm thick. Many side cutters provide optimum grip when they are closed and no force is needed, but these Bahco pliers give the best possible grip span when they are opened. Their innovative spring handle ensures maximum comfort and excellent protection against hand muscle strain, especially when the pliers are used frequently. enquiry number 123 52 NOVEMBER 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY


HPM November 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above