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Study shows using new drill bits may increase worker safety, productivity

Promptly swapping worn drill bits for sharp ones decreases exposures to silica dust, noise hazards

Posted September 13, 2017

A new study conducted by the CPWR Center for Construction Research and Training suggests using sharp drill bits increases worker safety and productivity. The study, led by CPWR researcher Dr. David Rempel and his research team at the University of California, found that swapping out worn drill bits promptly for sharp new ones can increase worker productivity while better protecting workers from occupational hazards. Workers who perform concrete drilling are exposed to hazardous levels of noise, force, vibration, and airborne silica dust.

Researchers used a specially designed test bench to conduct experiments with a common hammer drill and carbide-tipped bit, which isolated the effect of drill bit wear on worker exposure to health risks. They concluded that bit wear increased the time it took to drill, thus increasing the operator’s exposure to silica dust, noise, force, and vibration.

CPWR published the findings in a series of journal articles.

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