The Click Stick… Safety for the Future

The introduction of the Click Stick into the PSS Hire fleet has been game changing for our customers and has drastically reduced safety risks when breaking out mains across the gas and water sectors.

  • PSS Hire Click Stick
  • PSS Hire Click Stick

Customer Name

Cadent GDSP

Project Location

Various - UK

Duration

Ongoing

Products Used

Click Stick – Pipe Cutting Equipment

Following initial trials, the Click Stick was introduced to PSS Hire’s fleet in 2017 specifically for use on the Cadent GDSP contract, where Balfour Beatty and sub-contractors have used this innovative product to help break out 80,000+ service holes, installing 350km of new PE pipes and abandoning 426km of old cast iron mains. Over 500 Click Sticks are now used by Balfour Beatty and other contractors across the Cadent GDSP contract, and the product has become so indispensable that every Balfour Beatty van is equipped with a Click Stick.

What is the Click Stick

Manufactured byUIS (Utility Innovations Services), the UIS Click Stick is a revolutionary, lightweight hydraulic mains breaker which eradicates the need to use a podger bar or pipe breaking hammer. The battery operated, hydraulic portable pipe breaking tool is designed to break cast iron and spun iron pipes between 2” and 6”, presenting a far safer and controlled option than traditional podger bars which can bounce back from the mains, potentially placing operatives at serious risk of injury.

One of the great advantages of the Click Stick is its simplicity and the fact that it requires no extensive operator training as it is easily operated at the flick of a switch. It only requires one person to operate it and is ready for use in less than a minute. It removes the need to enter the excavation during the breakout process; the Click Stick C-frame is simply lowered into the excavation and easily positioned around the pipe, and then using the hydraulic pump it grips the pipe and breaks it in a controlled manner. It can also be attached to an extension handle to negate the need to enter the trench.

The Click Stick is operated by an accurate, ultra-sensitive micro switch remote control, making it suitable for live insertions, where space may be an issue, or where additional control is required, particularly working in close proximity to members of the public. The Click Stick has the ability to pre-set the pressure applied to the breaking activity that is controlled from outside the excavation, once again reducing Engineers’ exposure to potential injuries. Compared to other impact-type equipment, the Click Stick is designed to be used with a battery powered hydraulic Power Pack system. This reduces the risks associated with manual handling on-site, such as personal injury.

Although the Click Stick Power Pack is highly portable and lightweight at just 6kg, it has amazing crushing power of 10,000psi (700 bar). Due to its compact size and ease of use, it is easy to manoeuvre around existing utilities. The standard 2”- 6” Click Stick product also has a big brother, which is suitable for breaking out old cast iron mains up to 8”.

“The Click Stick has revolutionised the safety parameters of breaking mains in everyday use on-site. It has massively reduced possible risks to operatives where time can often be an issue, and potentially corners cut."

Cadent/Balfour Beatty GDSP Contract

Due to the scale of the Cadent gas contract, which demanded the breaking out of approximately 80,000 service holes and replacement of old cast iron mains, a safer alternative was sought to podger bars, as analysis of injuries across Cadent contracts indicated a high number of accidents associated with the use of podger bars. A forum was established to assess suitable equipment and a scoring system was devised. Several items of equipment were analysed and the Click Stick was a clear frontrunner. Site trials were undertaken comprising both dead insertion and live insertion mains and the Click Stick performed well above expectations, subsequently leading to full approval for use on the Cadent/Balfour Beatty GDSP contract.

Impact on Stakeholders and the Wider Community

This innovation has had a huge impact on Cadent (the client), Balfour Beatty (the contractor) and the wider public. The introduction of the Click Stick has effectively led to a Cadent ban on podger bars, reducing the risk of impact and manual handling injuries and eradicating musculoskeletal issues. The introduction of the Click Stick also impacts on the general public, as previously watching two men with a bright orange pole smashing something in a trench, with limited awareness of their surroundings, was a very archaic process. Now the Click Stick operates via a controlled process and can be instantly stopped when members of the public are passing in close proximity to live barriered works.

Process Improvements

The Click Stick has considerably enhanced productivity, safety and control over insertion activities. It has proved a resounding success in terms of safety, innovation, efficiency, speed, flexibility and ease of use.

Impact Made

It goes without saying that the Click Stick has had a huge positive impact on the Cadent gas contract, and also more widely amongst Balfour Beatty, Cadent and sub-contractors. There has been a turnaround from multiple injuries resulting from the use of podger bars across the industry, to zero injuries throughout the whole of 2017 as a result of the introduction of the Click Stick.

Future Developments 

The Click Stick really does represent Safety for the Future as it allows the opportunity to develop new tooling concepts that will also remove the operatives from the excavations and be able to remove manual efforts and carry out their operations with a click of a switch. The current new plug-in products are the UIS Cast Iron Clean End Cutter, UIS Emergency PE Squeeze-Off and the innovative new UIS Ductile/Steel Cutter. All these products have been designed to improve safety and make the daily workload less effortless.