Compacting the soil around power poles or when filling in narrow ditches created by the installation or repair of utility lines can be a problem for most utilities and municipalities.
Simply filling in the dirt and packing it down with a shovel may initially look like a viable solution, but after the first rain and the soil settles, the line location is clearly visible, or the utility pole is left in a pool of water.
To address this issue, various options in tamping equipment have been designed. While typically called tampers by those using the equipment, a better option is to use a pneumatic tamper, which uses air pressure to create a vibration that settles the soil and dramatically reduces settling.
Traditional and New Options
There are several manufacturers that offer a pneumatic tamper. Most of these have a similar design, and they are effective in packing down the soil. However, they are also very hard on the user. The constant vibration or bouncing of the tamper creates stress on the arms, shoulders, and neck, and this can result in injuries even with short periods of use.
The good news is that there some ergonomically designed tampers on the market. These also use pneumatics, so they are very adaptable to use in the field. All that is required is a connection to an air compressor, which can be vehicle mounted and operated for a constant source of pneumatic pressure.
The new designs in a pneumatic tamper reduce the vibration that passes from the handholds and handles on the equipment through the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders of the operator. With less vibration for the user to have to manage, there is a more complete job of tamping, without cutting corners or just completing the minimum amount of work.