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Effects of gloves on the total grip strength applied to cylindrical handles.

Wimer B; McDowell TW; Xu XS; Welcome DE; Warren C; Dong RG
Int J Ind Ergon 2010 Sep; 40(5):574-583
The major objectives of this study were to establish an alternative method for measuring the effects of gloves on the grip strength applied to cylindrical handles and to quantify the strength reduction due to the use of typical anti-vibration (AV) gloves. Different from previous studies that measure the grip force in a specific plane, the alternative method measures the total contact force normal to a cylindrical handle; the total grip strength is defined as the total contact force measured when a subject applies a power grip to the handle with his/her maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) effort. Two instrumented cylindrical handles (30 and 40 mm) were used in this study. Ten subjects participated in the experiment. Four types of AV gloves and two types of non-AV gloves were used in the experiment. Compared with bare-handed trials, each of the four anti-vibration gloves reduced the grip strength by more than 29%, regardless of handle size. One of the non-AV gloves also largely reduced the grip strength (more than 25%) whereas the grip strength reduction of the other one was less than 10%. The gloves also influenced the grip force distribution pattern around the circumference of the cylindrical handles. The results suggest that the thickness of a glove is one of the major factors associated with these effects. Relevance to industry: Glove use is generally recommended to keep the hands warm and dry and to protect them from many other hazards, provided this is consistent with safe and effective tool operation. However, a user of thicker, stiffer gloves, such as some AV gloves, could be trading one health risk for another. Knowledge of the effects of gloves on grip strength can help workers, managers, and safety professionals make informed decisions about glove selection and use in the workplace. This knowledge may also lead to work glove improvements.
Physical-capacity; Measurement-equipment; Humans; Vibration; Vibration-effects; Vibration-exposure; Vibration-suppressors; Vibration-control; Hand-protection; Protective-clothing; Protective-measures; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Ergonomics; Author Keywords: Glove; Grip force; Grip strength; Anti-vibration gloves; Hand force
Thomas W. McDowell Engineering & Control Technology Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, MS L-2027, WV 26505, USA
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International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division