Pinpoint Gas Leaks, Reduce Worker Injury with Vertical Drills
By Rick Walstad
It can be intimidating to stare down a narrow city street, knowing there’s a gas leak somewhere between the next two junctions. Contractors need to find and fix it quickly, but that can be a hard, backbreaking task. Traditionally, contractors are faced with one of two options: Use equipment like a backhoe to dig up the entire area, resulting in a significant amount of added time, cost and disruption to the neighborhood (not to mention difficulty maneuvering into some tight areas), or use handheld drills and jackhammers to determine the precise location of the leak. This process is strenuous for operators and an injury risk for companies. Vibrations from those machines quickly fatigue the operator, impacting overall productivity, and can cause chronic injuries. And their bulky size makes them hard for operators to maneuver in a single traffic lane or between obstacles.
The frame holds the drill in place and absorbs the dangerous vibrations created during operation, which drastically reduces injuries.
Frame-mounted drills, like the UTL20 from E-Z Drill, offer an easier and more efficient way to precisely pinpoint leaks without the backbreaking work. They allow contractors to quickly find and repair gas leaks with the least amount of impact to the worksite and operators. The biggest benefits of frame-mounted drills include:
1. Easy maneuverability: The easier it is to move the drill, the faster crews can find the gas leak. Jackhammers weigh about 60 pounds, which can feel more like a ton after using it to bust concrete for several hours. With frame-mounted rock drills, operators can simply pull or push them into position on pneumatic tires. The small size also allows for easy transportation from site to site, or from one side of a long stretch of the road to the other. Operators can easily transport the drill in the back of a standard pickup truck.
Frame-mounted drills fit in the back of a truck or trailer for transportation from site to site.
2. Small footprint: Being mindful of the amount of space on a worksite is critical, especially if the leak occurs in a high-traffic area. Frame-mounted rock drills are compact, with just a 29-inch wheelbase. Because minimal operating space is needed, it virtually eliminates the hassle of maneuvering carrier-mounted drills on narrow streets around cars, equipment and other workers.
The compact design of frame-mounted drills allows operators to maneuver into limited access areas near parked cars and close to curbs.
3. Ergonomics: Frame-mounted rock drills eliminate the repetitive strain injuries caused by vibrations with jackhammers. And, there is no more back strain from stooping over the unit. The frames hold the unit in place and transmit vibrations to the frame rather than the operator. If the bit gets stuck while drilling, operators can easily flip a lever and the drill backs the bit out of the hole while also absorbing any jerking motion. But be warned: Not all frame-mounted drills are the same. Some units require the operator to hold the controls the entire time the drill is working, continuing to expose workers to vibration. The best solution is one that allows the operator to engage the drill and step back away from dust and vibration.
Frame-mounted drills operate up to four times faster than handheld models, so crews can pinpoint gas leaks more quickly.
Locating and repairing gas leaks doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Whether a crew drills five, thirty, or hundreds of holes, frame-mounted vertical drills are the solution for gas leak dilemmas. They easily and precisely pinpoint leaks for fast, safe and effective utility service. UP
Rick Walstad is the president and CEO of E-Z Drill, manufacturers of equipment for concrete drilling and doweling since 1987. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.