safety starts with tool selection
We realize that safety isn’t simply a result of the bells and whistles but starts with tool selection. Choosing smaller, lighter, and portable tools reduces operator fatigue and lessens the amount of equipment required to perform a task. Choosing a battery-operated tool over a pneumatic, for instance, reduces the noise of the tool and eliminates a tripping hazard. The portability of a battery tool can also allow for field access where it might not have been possible before, which can avoid the cost and risk of moving equipment that needs maintenance.
Ergonomics are a very important aspect of safety. From an engineering standpoint, we invest extra time in design to ensure our tools are ergonomic and put the least amount of stress on the operator. We make dedicated components to optimize weight, and as a result, very few of our tools share parts. We also integrate feedback from our manufacturing team as much as we can to make our products as small and as light as possible.
Safety fundamentally comes down to how a tool is used. It’s important that the right tool is used for the job – in fact, it’s probably the most critical aspect to safe operation of a RAD torque wrench.
For example, if a tool isn’t aligned properly with the nut or bolt, it will try to align itself as the torque is applied and the reaction forces increase. If an operator’s hand happens to be the reason the tool isn’t aligned properly, the operator can suffer an injury as the tool tries to align itself to the application. This can be a commonly overlooked scenario as many assume the reaction arm is the only part of the tool that could cause injury if an operator had their hand in the wrong place.
We like to remind our customers that our tools are very “energy dense” and can be completely unforgiving of complacency. Getting familiar with the tooling and understanding its operation is very important, and for that reason, we are committed to providing our distributors around the world with the training needed to safely introduce RAD tools to any workforce, identify any safety risks, and help our customers choose the right tools and safety features for their needs.
As Canadians and global torque leaders, RAD Torque strives to be responsive and supportive of all our customer’s safety needs. One way we do this is to consider unintended consequences.
For example, a customer who has previously had an unfortunate injury experience might request guards and handles that may actually increase the hazard risk in other situations. It’s important to support the customer in either developing a guard or handle that doesn’t compromise safety in another situation, or to help support the customer in implementing a training program that aims to eliminate the dangerous usage of the tooling.
To achieve this intimate knowledge, we work with the field to either avoid, or eliminate, dangerous situations whenever possible. When one of our distributors is unable to find a solution within our catalogue that will work for a customer, we encourage them to reach out to RAD for support, as we are confident we can give them a hand and find the right tool.
Safety in Action: Real World Example
Recently RAD was approached by a customer that needed a tool for a wind tower application that had a very aggressive bolt spacing that included a bunch of casting webs that got in the way of traditional reaction arms.
RAD designed a reaction arm that encompassed two sockets and distributed the reaction loads into the arm through the second socket. This allowed the one arm to be used throughout the application, but more importantly, all but eliminated the pinch points that could have existed if conventional fixturing was used.
Designed with Safety in Mind
While the overall design of each tool is considered with safety in mind, every component that goes into each tool needs to be considered, even those you may not realize at first.
One example is the development of the “secondhand start switch”. We added the secondhand start switch on electronic products to ensure the operator’s second hand is finished positioning the tool to avoid injury. By adding in the requirement to press two separate buttons to get the tool to start, we’ve reduced the possibility of complacency with a diligent “yes, I’m ready to start” second button.
On pneumatic tools, we’ve added a secondary trigger stop that must be moved out of the way to actuate the trigger, reducing the possibility of accidental operation.
We’ve also created cable and handle adapters to re-position or re-locate cables on E-RAD tools to increase ergonomics or eliminate interference.
For the battery tools, we designed a long aluminum gearbox input extension that eliminates the need for railway workers to bend down to reach the bolts at their feet. This also ensures that their hands are free from the reaction area and keeps the weight of the tool down for handling considerations.
All of these examples are due to the experience the designers at RAD Torque bring to the job, every day. We’ve established a set of criteria that allow us to optimize our products based on years and years of industry experience. This allows us to minimize the weight for ergonomics while focusing on the quality that has always set RAD apart