This study investigated the effects of screwdriver handle shape, surface, and workpiece orientation on subjective discomfort, number of screw-tightening rotations, screw-insertion time, axial screwdriving force, and finger contact forces in a screwdriving task. Handles with three longitudinal cross-sectional shapes (circular, hexagonal, triangular), four lateral shapes (cylindrical, double frustum, reversed double frustum, cone), and two surface materials (plastic, rubber coated) were tested. Individual phalangeal segment force distributions indicated how fingers and phalangeal segments were involved in the creation of total finger force (15.0%, 34.6%, 34.5%, and 15.9% for the index, middle, ring, and little fingers; and 45.7%, 22.4%, 12.9%, and 19.0% for the distal, middle, proximal, and metacarpal phalanges, respectively). From this finding, the index and little fingers appeared to contribute mainly in the guiding and balancing of the screwdriver handles, whereas middle and ring fingers played a more prominent role in gripping and turning. Participants preferred circular and hexagonal longitudinal-shaped and double frustum and cone lateral-shaped handles over the triangular longitudinal-shaped handles, and cylindrical and reversed double frustum lateral-shaped handles. Circular, cylindrical, and double frustum handles exhibited the least total finger force associated with screw insertion. In terms of combinations of longitudinal and lateral shapes, circular with double frustum handles were associated with less discomfort and total finger force.
BD Lowe, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS C-26, Cincinnati, OH 45226