Innovating a safer work site

April 04, 2018

Terracon was recently recognized by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation for their 2018 BWC Safety Innovation Awards. The awards, designed to encourage and recognize innovative solutions to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses, are given to employers that showcase successful innovations that can help other Ohio employers in their safety efforts or inspire innovation solutions of their own.

Designing a Better Tool

Terracon’s team was recognized for the development of a tool, known as the YankMeister 3000 (YM3000) pin puller, that reduces the potential of back or wrist strains from pulling nuclear density gauge pins.  This new tool helps reduce fatigue, increases technician productivity, increases data quality and improves morale.

Senior Industrial hygienist, Mike Meister, CIH, CSP, of Terracon’s Cincinnati office, developed the tool after observing and recognizing the hazards to the employees due to their awkward postures and excessive pulling forces needed to pull pins with the old, manufacturer provided pin puller.  The YM3000 pin puller allows employees to retain good ergonomic posture and use the stronger muscles of the legs when pulling pins from the ground for soil density readings. The tool was made and tested locally, reviewed by ergonomics specialists, and tested by field staff, supervisors, and safety professionals.

Improving an Industry Practice

The puller eliminates the need to bend, twist, and stoop when performing the pin pulling task, creating an alternative to a 30-year old practice. More than 1,000 units have been mass produced for Terracon Operations, are included with each nuclear density gauge, and used by more than 900 technicians company-wide. The tools are used up to 15,000 times per day. Since their implementation there have been no related back injuries reported related to pin pulling operations.

“The improvement process is pretty simple,” Mike Meister remarked.  “Just talk to workers about what is the most strenuous part of their job, then get creative and find alternatives that reduce those stresses.  Then repeat”.   It’s part of Continuous Improvement and how we demonstrate care and concern for our employees.


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