Bucket-seat provides ergonomics and organization

Nov. 1, 1996
Bright and early Monday morning, you arrive at the site of a new job. After a pleasant weekend, reality sets in: You have to install 500 quad unshielded twisted-pair office locations--2000 inserts--and faceplates, too. Total manpower to accomplish the task: one rookie and you.

Dennis Mazaris, PerfectSite

Problem

Bright and early Monday morning, you arrive at the site of a new job. After a pleasant weekend, reality sets in: You have to install 500 quad unshielded twisted-pair office locations--2000 inserts--and faceplates, too. Total manpower to accomplish the task: one rookie and you.

By the time you reach the thirtieth location, your back is killing you from constantly stooping to reach outlets cut 18 inches from the floor. You`re also frustrated with searching for parts and tools.

Solution

The first problem is your back. Working close to the floor can be painful, and experience does not make it any easier. What you need is a portable seat that lets you work with your knees elevated above your hips, to take the strain off your lower back.

Your second problem is organization: finding the parts that you need when you need them. A bucket-seat--a combination seat-and-parts organizer-- meets both challenges. You can build one of these on-site in just a few minutes, but it is easier if you plan ahead and make one before you reach the site. Then, use your bucket to carry everything you need on the job--even your lunch.

Procedure

1) Find a clean 5-gallon plastic paint or mud bucket with a cover. You can usually find them at a job site, but you can also purchase them at paint and hardware stores.

2) If necessary, cut the bottom of the bucket to a height where your knees are above your hips when you sit on it. This reduces the stress on your lower back. Keep in mind that the typical office outlet height is 18 inches to center.

3) Fasten some clear, strong plastic bags with drywall screws, duct tape or electrical tape to the side of the bucket. Use enough bags to have one for each part you will use--for example, different-color RJ-45 inserts, faceplates, box eliminators-- to separate them for easier access.

4) Hang another, larger, bag onto the back of your bucket-seat for trash.

5) Poke or cut holes in the bucket cover to hold the tools you`ll be using most often.

6) For additional comfort, you may want to add some padding to fit the bucket cover.

7) You can also purchase an assortment of attachments for your 5-gallon bucket, such as stackable dividers that fit inside the bucket or tool and parts holders that fit around the bucket.

Note: You may find other tool-storage products in hardware stores that will meet some, but not all, the needs of a cable installer on a large installation job. Most seem to be either the wrong height for cable-installation work or they lack ease of access. Let me know if you find one that works. --DM

Click here to enlarge image

Bucket-seat is cut to a height that reduces stress on the lower back. Holes in the bucket cover provide easy access for often-used tools, and plastic bags hold the parts you need for outlet installations.

Dennis Mazaris, registered communications distribution designer (rcdd), is a consultant at PerfectSite in Sterling, VA

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