Evaluation of Hand-Arm Vibration Exposure and the Effect of Vibration Reducing Tools and Gloves
The Field Group conducted a project using a precision sound level meter equipped with miniature accelerometers to measure hand vibration exposures for 10 workers using two industrial palm sanders, one of which (random orbital) was designed to minimize exposure with and without the use of vibration damping gloves. While the random orbital sander caused a slight, not statistically significant reduction in side to side hand movement, it also appeared to cause slight increases (not significant) in vibration in the other two dimensions. Vibration dampening gloves appeared to significantly reduce vibration exposure from 20 to 64%, with the greatest reductions occurring with the newer random orbital sander. It appears that while there was little reduction in exposure from using the low vibration sander alone, significant reductions may be obtained when using this sander with gloves containing vibration-attenuating material.
Vibration and Noise Exposure Levels in the Forestry Industry
Workers in the forestry industry are exposed to a number of sources of hand-arm and whole-body vibration from a variety of hand tools and heavy equipment. This problem, which has received little attention in the US, has been associated with negative health effects, such as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, in other countries. This pilot study took 177 hand-arm and whole-body vibration measurements of forestry workers using a variety of vibration-producing equipment; 46 TWA noise exposure measurements were taken simultaneously to estimate the degree to which vibration exposure levels may be predicted by noise exposure levels. Forestry workers in this study were exposed to substantial vibration and noise exposures. The task-based exposure assessment approach used in this study, combined with multiple regression modeling, will help identify work characteristics that give rise to elevated exposure levels.