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Top tips for using a jackhammer

If your next demolition project requires some extra grunt, a jack hammer could be just what you need. Whether you’re chiselling bathroom tiles or breaking down concrete slabs, this heavy-duty tool packs a punch and comes in a range of sizes and types to suit all tasks.

Here are some jack hammer basics to help get you started with your hire.

How do jack hammers work?

Depending on their size jack hammers can be powered by electricity, petrol, hydraulics or compressed air. Jack hammers work by powering an internal hammer that repeatedly connects with an external chisel. This chisel can be fitted with different tips and tools to suit the type of material you’re breaking down.

Also called demolition hammers, jack hammers are rated by their weight – which determines the amount of force behind the strike they can deliver. The higher a jack hammer’s rating, the more forceful its impact will be.

What can you do with a jack hammer?

  • Smaller jack hammers (2-6kgs) are useful for small chiselling tasks – like removing tiles from walls and other fiddly jobs. Relatively lightweight, they are also particularly useful for demolition work that requires equipment to be lifted up.

  • Brick is no match for a medium rated jack hammer (15-20kgs. More robust mid-range jack hammers are great for preparing to lay pipe and breaking bricks, clay and concrete up to 100mm.

  • Heavy-duty pneumatic jack hammers (30kgs+) are used widely in construction for jobs like breaking up concrete footings around fence posts; demolishing roads and pavements, and for breaking down boulders and large concrete slabs.


How to use a jack hammer safely

There are some important safety considerations when using jack hammers:

Protecting your ears when jack hammering

Did you know that pneumatic jack hammers can produce a staggering 110 decibels (dB) of noise? That’s only marginally less than a jet taking off 25m away, or a gun going off. Given any noise greater than 85dB is considered “loud”, it’s important to prevent hearing damage by wearing noise cancelling ear protection and avoiding extended jack hammer use.

Protecting your eyes when jack hammering

When hard surfaces are demolished dust and debris can fly into the air. To prevent eye injury always wear face protection and appropriate impact-rated eye protection.

Electrocution

Store cords/cables for an electric jack hammer over your shoulder to avoid accidental strikes.

Reducing body stressing

Over use (or unsafe use) of jack hammers can lead to injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and other musculoskeletal illness. To reduce the physical impact of jack hammers:

  • Encourage regular breaks and rotate workers to avoid extended use. Your jack hammer can go all day long – your operators cannot.

  • Use a jack hammer trolley for greater comfort, reduced strain and fatigue during use and when moving jack hammers around site.

  • To prevent back injuries bend at the knees (not the waist) and use your legs to carry the weight of larger jack hammers.

  • Low vibration jack hammers and anti-vibration gloves can reduce the impact on your body. Ergonomically designed handles and soft rubberised grips can provide further cushioning.


Getting the most out of your jack hammer hire

  • For maximum efficiency use the right tip and attachments for your task.

  • Positioning the jack hammer at a slight angle (leaning in towards you) will improve control and reduce the likelihood of the tip getting stuck.

  • Whenever possible, face away from windows and glass or lay a plastic sheet over your work area to prevent damage from flying debris.

  • Jack hammers are designed to break up the surface they come into contact with. To isolate a jack hammer’s impact, first make some boundary cuts using a demolition saw.


Coates branches across the country offer a wide range of jack hammers and accessories for hire. Contact us today for all your demolition needs – or Find your local branch.

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