UCSF-UCB drilling device cuts construction injuries

By Kristen Bole

David Rempel, MD

UCSF and UC Berkeley researchers have designed and field-tested a new overhead drill for construction workers that reduces ten-fold the stress on hands, while also significantly reducing fatigue and injury to workers performing this common construction task. The device itself was the culmination of a five-year research project aimed to help ease the stress and associated musculoskeletal disease of one of the most physically demanding tasks of the construction trades. The device they developed, called a jig, enables workers to perform the drilling from the ground without looking up, reducing the awkward positions normally used in overhead drilling when hanging pipes, electrical trays and sheet metal ducts.

The results of the field evaluation research, led by David Rempel, MD, of the UCSF Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and also of the UCB Department of Bioengineering, are reported in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

Project overview: http://ergo.berkeley.edu/research/overhead_drill.php

Research paper: http://ergo.berkeley.edu/docs/2010%20Rempel%20JOEH.pdf

CPWR press release: http://ergo.berkeley.edu/docs/Overhead%20Drill-CPWR.pdf