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Concrete testing is essential to ensuring strong construction and safe foundations throughout the construction industry. Depending on the mixture and its intended use, some cylinder or block samples can go through 64 weeks or more of extended testing. The cylinders may need to be lifted dozens of times onto various testing machines until the process is completed. Testing technicians can easily develop acute strain injuries if they’re handling these samples by hand alone. Ergonomic concrete test cylinder lifting handles protect your staff and help them get through more tests in a single day. Yet if you try to choose a beam specimen lifting handle by cost alone, you’ll end up with a tool that can’t withstand the challenges of regular exposure to corrosive elements. Consider the durability, ease of use, security of the grip, and options for storage between use when selecting concrete testing equipment such as lifting handles. 

The Purpose and Importance of Ergonomic Lifting Devices for Labs 

Concrete test cylinders can weigh between 10 and 30 pounds, and even the smallest and lightest models can pose a hazard. Not only are these pieces of concrete heavy enough to cause injury if they’re dropped on a foot or leg, but they also pose a lift hazard for repetitive strain injuries. Workers will be more productive and less likely to experience arm or back pain when they have the right concrete cylinder handling equipment. Reducing strain encourages greater productivity hour after hour, helping you make the most out of your labor costs. It can also reduce the chance of worker’s compensation claims due to injuries caused by dropped concrete samples. 

Material testing safety tools also protect the samples themselves from damage. When you’re relying on lab technicians to handle the concrete with bare or gloved hands, it’s often a challenge to maintain a good grip. Soaked samples that have been in a bath of lime water can become downright slippery and easy to drop. Damaged samples are often unsuitable for further testing, requiring a restart of the entire process. Keeping the sample intact and free from cracks or chips during the testing process is a requirement in most concrete test cylinder standards. 

It’s not just the size and weight of the concrete samples that make them tricky to handle in the lab setting. The curing chambers, tubs, and vats used for submerging them also tend to add to the handling challenges. Low chambers and vats force your technicians to lift the cylinders from an awkward stooped position if they have to use their hands. Longer lifting handles let the workers stand up in a more normal position as they lift the samples from the soaking chambers and place them on racks in drying areas. This reduces the risk of back strain and repetitive injuries over time. 

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Safety First During the Concrete Testing Process 

Even if the lab is small, efficient specimen transport solutions are necessary to protect workers and equipment alike. Dropped concrete samples can lead to broken toes or feet, injured ankles, and thousands of dollars of damage to testing equipment. It’s all too easy to lose grip on cylinders in particular because of the rounded shape. Both six and four-inch cylinders need handles that accommodate their specific diameters. Trying to adjust a handle to fit a size of sample that it wasn’t designed to hold will only lead to dropped and damaged concrete. 

Whenever possible, most concrete testing standards call for keeping the samples vertical and sitting on flat platforms or surfaces. It’s only possible to meet these standards with equipment designed to lift and transport the samples in this position. If you ask your lab technicians to handle the test cylinders multiple times as they’re moved from the delivery truck to the various soaking and testing stations, you’ll need to provide equipment to facilitate the process. Many testing standards call for transfer periods of just a few hours between the job site and the lab. Back injury prevention in testing labs starts with equipment that assists in quick unloading without compromising on ergonomics. While it’s important to maintain the shape and size of each testing cylinder, it’s even more important to prevent injuries and accidents. 

Choosing the Right Handle with Deslauriers 

Lifting handles for test cylinder storage and transport need to match both the cylinder size and the material it’s made from. Enriched and reinforced concrete samples may weigh even more than the usual 29 lb weight for 6-inch by 12-inch cylinders. Four-inch cylinders are lighter, but they need smaller lifting handles that clamp tightly around the reduced diameter. Most lifting handles built for six-inch testing cylinders can accommodate four-inch samples, but that’s not true in reverse. Handles for four-inch cylinders won’t accommodate anything larger. You may choose a six-inch model for its flexibility or order both sizes of handles to ensure a tool for every situation. 

Deslauriers has a number of lifting handles available. The TC6LH handle reduces back strain and safely handles even the heaviest concrete samples. It’s as easy as squeezing the two handles together with one hand, which applies tension to the gripping pads so they hold tight to the concrete sample. When you release the cylinder to sink into a curing vat or settle onto a compression testing platform, you just release the two handles. This lifting handle also works well on the job site when loading concrete samples into the truck for delivery at the lab. It’s made of coated metal that won’t react when exposed to moisture or lime mixtures that can cause corrosion on bare materials. Each lifting handle will last for years without requiring much maintenance or care. 

The TC4LH offers the same easy-to-use design but is specifically built for smaller 4-inch by 8-inch concrete samples. It can hold both rounded cylinders of concrete and rectangular blocks. There’s no need to adjust the lifting handle to fit the different shapes due to the arrangement of the grips. When it’s time to replace the grip pads on the lifting handle, the TC6LH-H package is all you need to restore your lab equipment. If you want to make a hands-on Deslauriers lifting handles comparison of your own, consider ordering one of each size to compare them to any safety equipment your concrete testing lab currently uses. No matter what kind of concrete samples you prepare and process in your facility, there’s a Deslauriers lifting handle to help. 
Explore the best construction site safety accessories to simplify the process of creating, transporting, and testing concrete samples. Accurate test results are essential to ensure that the concrete supporting today’s biggest structures has the strength and durability it needs. Invest in concrete lifting handles that work for samples of all sizes and shapes so your technicians don’t struggle during testing. Deslauriers has the products to help that will last the test of time. 

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