Factors affecting the performance of tang guards in preventing meat packing injury due to the hand slipping forward on the knife handle were evaluated in nine male and nine female subjects. The two variables studied were the radius of transition from the handle to the blocking portion of the tang and the height of the tang. Approximately half of the subjects were currently employed or former meat cutters. The remainder were machinists, secretaries, technicians, homemakers, laborers, teachers, and students. The four guard heights tested were 0.508, 1.016, 1.524, and 2.032 centimeters (cm). The three radii of curvature were 0.533, 0.800, and 1.067cm. Testing was conducted under slippery film conditions. There was no effect for either men or women for the radii evaluated. The guard height had a significant effect for both genders. For female subjects, there was minimal improvement in the force exerted when the guard height was more than 1.016cm. In male subjects, there was minimal improvement in the force exerted when the guard height was more than 1.524cm. The authors conclude that a guard height adequate for male subjects is also adequate for female subjects. Guard heights less than 1.524cm are less capable of preventing slipping. By these standards, tang guards for most knives presently used in meat packing are inadequate.
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