A new method for overhead drilling

Ergonomics. 2009 Dec;52(12):1584-9. doi: 10.1080/00140130903254338.


In the construction sector, overhead drilling into concrete or metal ceilings is a strenuous task associated with shoulder, neck and back musculoskeletal disorders due to the large applied forces and awkward arm postures. Two intervention devices, an inverted drill press and a foot lever design, were developed then compared to the usual method by construction workers performing their normal overhead drilling activities (n = 14). While the intervention devices were rated as less fatiguing than the usual method, their ratings on usability measures were worse than the usual method. The study demonstrates that the intervention devices can reduce fatigue; however, additional modifications are necessary in order to improve usability and productivity. Devices designed to improve workplace safety may need to undergo several rounds of field testing and modification prior to implementation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Construction Materials*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Equipment Design*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Man-Machine Systems
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology*
  • Neck Pain / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Posture*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Pain / prevention & control*
  • Vibration / adverse effects
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*