Laboratory and workplace assessments of rivet bucking bar vibration emissions.
McDowell-TW; Warren-C; Xu-XS; Welcome-DE; Dong-RG
Ann Occup Hyg 2015 Apr; 59(3):382-397
Sheet metal workers operating rivet bucking bars are at risk of developing hand and wrist musculoskeletal disorders associated with exposures to hand-transmitted vibrations and forceful exertions required to operate these hand tools. New bucking bar technologies have been introduced in efforts to reduce workplace vibration exposures to these workers. However, the efficacy of these new bucking bar designs has not been well documented. While there are standardized laboratory-based methodologies for assessing the vibration emissions of many types of powered hand tools, no such standard exists for rivet bucking bars. Therefore, this study included the development of a laboratory-based method for assessing bucking bar vibrations which utilizes a simulated riveting task. With this method, this study evaluated three traditional steel bucking bars, three similarly shaped tungsten alloy bars, and three bars featuring spring-dampeners. For comparison the bucking bar vibrations were also assessed during three typical riveting tasks at a large aircraft maintenance facility. The bucking bars were rank-ordered in terms of unweighted and frequency-weighted acceleration measured at the hand-tool interface. The results suggest that the developed laboratory method is a reasonable technique for ranking bucking bar vibration emissions; the lab-based riveting simulations produced similar rankings to the workplace rankings. However, the laboratory-based acceleration averages were considerably lower than the workplace measurements. These observations suggest that the laboratory test results are acceptable for comparing and screening bucking bars, but the laboratory measurements should not be directly used for assessing the risk of workplace bucking bar vibration exposures. The newer bucking bar technologies exhibited significantly reduced vibrations compared to the traditional steel bars. The results of this study, together with other information such as rivet quality, productivity, tool weight, comfort, worker acceptance, and initial cost can be used to make informed bucking bar selections.
Workers; Work-environment; Metal-workers; Hand-injuries; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Hand-tools; Vibration; Vibration-exposure; Laboratory-testing;
Author Keywords: exposure estimation; HAVS; musculoskeletal injury; risk assessment; vibration
Thomas W. McDowell, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Health Effects Lab, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
Annals of Occupational Hygiene