Who knew that changing gas meters can pose a risk for injury to workers in the utility industry? That finding was very unexpected to Dr. Naira Campbell-Kyureghyan and her engineering students from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM), so much so that it pushed them to action.
They set off to create a safer work environment for technicians charged with servicing gas meters by designing a new tool to aid in the task. Together with Andy Lobo, director of product management and development at Snap-on Industrial, a division of Snap-on Inc., they engineered a new gas meter wrench.
Campbell-Kyureghyan is the founding director of UWM's Consortium for Advanced Research in Gas Industries (CARGI), an organization dedicated to improving ergonomics, safety, productivity and quality in the utility world. The consortium is composed of partner companies representing large and small business in the energy sector nationwide. One of Campbell-Kyureghyan's research priorities is finding ways to diminish work-related field injuries and fatalities.
Through their work, Campbell-Kyureghyan's student team discovered that loosening the gas meters' large fasteners, some of which have been rusted and tightly torqued for years, requires workers to use a tremendous amount of force. Conventional wrenches often slip in the process, causing a particularly high rate of injury.