In a study about drywall finishing conducted by Greg Shaw, of the Midstate Education and Service Foundation, Apla-Tech tool systems were found to have the greatest long-term advantages for drywall tools compared to others on the market. At the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., the 12th Annual Construction Safety & Health Conference & Expo, Walls & Ceilings was present to observe the seminar, called "Drywall Ergonomics," which was geared toward eliminating worker injuries and bodily strain.
According to the study, the Apla-Tech system helps because it is air driven, light and durable. Workers found that compared to regular flat boxes, the Apla-Tech tools were easier to use over an extended period of time. The extended use of conventional drywall tools resulted in numerous health risks from other tools.
According to a survey of a small group of drywall finishers the following symptoms were reported by the workers during the past 12 months: elbow and forearm pain 88 percent; back pain 75 percent; hand/wrist pain 63 percent; neck pain 38 percent; and shoulder pain 38 percent.
In his research, Shaw reports that his tests show the Apla-Tech system requires as little as 10 percent of the muscle activity of spring-powered boxes and only 2 percent of regular boxes. Participants of the study say they can use the system all day without excessive fatigue. The questionaire data show that 12 out of 15 Apla-Tech users reported less pain during work and feeling less tired after using the tool compared to traditional boxes.
"From an ergonomic standpoint, the Apla-Tech system does a good job at eliminating the risk of finishing with boxes and possibly is safer than hand finishing too," said Shaw. "We recommend this system based on these findings but also recognize that the tool is not appropriate for all finishing situations because of the need for power, air lines, compressor noise and possible learning curve ¿."
The study concluded with the Midstate Education and Service Foundation endorsing the Apla-Tech tool above all finishing tools.
"We are extremely pleased by the findings of the study," said Jeff Denkins, president of Apla-Tech. "I have always known that our tools are easier to use and now there are facts to back us up."
"With OSHA announcing plans to reduce ergonomic injuries through a combination of industry-targeted guidelines in the future, we are eager and ready to train and service drywall finishers on our pneumatic finishing tools," added Chief Operations Officer Dave Darnutzer.