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Assessment of hand-transmitted vibration exposure from motorized forks used for beach-cleaning operations.
McDowell TW; Welcome DE; Warren C; Xu XS; Dong RG
Ann Occup Hyg 2013 Jan; 57(1):43-53
Motorized vibrating manure forks were used in beach-cleaning operations following the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to characterize the vibration emissions of these motorized forks and to provide a first approximation of hand-transmitted vibration exposures to workers using these forks for beach cleaning. Methods: Eight operators were recruited to operate the motorized forks during this laboratory study. Four fork configurations were used in the study; two motor speeds and two fork basket options were evaluated. Accelerations were measured near each hand as the operators completed the simulated beach-cleaning task. Results: The dominant vibration frequency for these tools was identified to be around 20 Hz. Because acceleration was found to increase with motor speed, workers should consider operating these tools with just enough speed to get the job done. These forks exhibited considerable acceleration magnitudes when unloaded. Conclusions: The study results suggest that the motor should not be operated with the fork in the unloaded state. Anti-vibration gloves are not effective at attenuating the vibration frequencies produced by these forks, and they may even amplify the transmitted vibration and increase hand/arm fatigue. While regular work gloves are suitable, vibration-reducing gloves may not be appropriate for use with these tools. These considerations may also be generally applicable for the use of motorized forks in other workplace environments.
Vibration; Vibration-exposure; Hand-tools; Power-tools; Laboratory-testing; Testing-equipment; Measurement-equipment; Employee-exposure; Pneumatic-tools; Exposure-levels; Exposure-assessment; Tools; Acceleration; Workplace-studies; Hand-injuries; Arm-injuries; Injury-prevention; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Risk-analysis; Vibration-effects; Hazardous-waste-cleanup; Fatigue; Personal-protective-equipment; Gloves; Author Keywords: exposure estimation; HAVS; musculoskeletal injury; risk assessment; vibration
Thomas W. McDowell, NIOSH Health Effects Laboratory, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
Issue of Publication
Annals of Occupational Hygiene
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division