How can technicians & mechanics protect hands and wrists from painful RSI?
Hand and wrist muscle strains and injuries such as RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury - are among health conditions most frequently sustained by automotive professionals who use tools every working day.
Even the toughest hands can be affected by muscle strains or injuries. These are not only painful but can lead to needing time off work.
Constant repetition of some actions, often unavoidable, can result in strain even if the actions don’t feel all that strenuous at the time.
Gripping any hand tool activates 42 different hand muscles. Eventually this can cause strain, pain or numbness in parts of the hand.
Tools which are the wrong size to comfortably fit your hand increase the risk of RSI or similar muscular conditions.
So how can you protect even the toughest hands?
Using ergonomic, well balanced hand tools reduces muscular stress in the hands, provides greater comfort, cuts vibration through the hands and helps to avoid blisters and pressure points.
Ergonomic tools are not new; designers at Bahco produced the first ergonomic screwdriver more than 30 years ago and there are now more than 550 ergonomic tools in their range.
All are designed and manufactured in line with a meticulous scientific process which, following stringent testing, was approved by independent experts in ergonomics, health and safety.
Bahco’s ERGO™ tools are designed around what automotive professionals say they require. They respond to the demands of every twist and turn, protecting the different hand muscles required for a secure grip, preventing avoidable muscular conditions and making demanding work easier.
Their impressively wide range of ergonomic automotive tools includes adjustable wrenches, pliers, ratchet sets, handsaws, files, hammers, insulated screwdrivers and task specific application tools.
Bahco tool specialists offer the following guidance to automotive professionals considering which tools are the most suitable for their use:
- To avoid un-natural hand positions choose tools with a handle long enough to distribute pressure evenly over the palm, eliminating pressure points which could cause a callus;
- Check that a tool allows you ‘precision grip,’ allowing small movements with your index finger and thumb, or ‘force grip,’ such as holding a hammer in your palm, or both;
- Spring loaded pliers are good provided you can lock them or they have a spring with an on/off function;
- When using pliers bear in mind that the longer the shank, the lower the cutting force you will need. Also, the closer the rivet is to the cutting edge the greater the cutting force.
- When buying a large screwdriver look for one designed to optimize the torque transmitted; `
- Keep your hands warm if you can. Low temperatures anaesthetise the hands and conceal pain. Cold hands lose sensitivity and are more easily damaged by cuts and scratches.
The large range of Ergomonic tools for automotive application, can be found online at straightset.co.uk. To find the right garage tool for your needs, the website features a handy filter on the left hand side of each category which allows you to filter products to display those that are Egro (Y) and those that are not Ergo (N). Bahco tools are available to buy online with free UK delivery on overs over £25 at www.straightset.co.uk/bahco-workshop-tools
We hope you find our advice helpful, here at Straightset, Health and Safety is our top priority.