One MoveSMART® demonstration for Safe Handling Zones shows the difference in leverage power as pressure is placed at different distances on an extended arm. The lesson is: Get close to work so leverage works for you, not against you.
When talking to people about using tools be sure to mention the converse of this principle about leverage – the further away pressure is applied from the lever point, the greater the leverage power. Using a long pry-bar or a longer handled wrench makes the work easier. Choosing tools for their best leverage potential is a Shield Yourself strategy.
Gripping the tool as close to the end of the handle as is safe gives the best leverage. Sometimes people, without thinking about it, grab a tool down the handle a short distance and lose some of the leverage power they would gain by moving the grip just a bit further away from the leverage point.
Of course, one potential problem with using long handled tools is being struck by the tool if something slips. Another part of shielding yourself is positioning your body not only to optimize your own strength, balance and control, but also positioning yourself out of the line of fire if something should move unexpectedly.
Some applications of this principle include:
– Pry bars
– Claw hammers
– Wheelbarrow handles
– Wagon tongues
– and any other task involving handles or leverage devices.