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workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

R018997 - 021H: Glove and Tool Intervention to Reduce Hand-Arm Vibration (8997a)

Start Date: 9/1/2009
End Date: 9/30/2013

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Linda Frederick
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: Office of Extramural Projects
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed


Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

The goal of this intervention study is to reduce vibration from hand tools and help prevent resultant health effect. Various combinations of anti-vibration tools and gloves will be used to reduce vibration exposure. Despite a reduction in expsoure to hand-arm vibration over the past decaseds, HAVS remains a significant health problem. The ultimate goal is to reduce symptomatic disease among workers who use vibrating hand tools.


"This proposed intervention study to reduce significant vibratory exposures from power tools involves a team of extramural and NIOSH intramural investigators. It presumes that anti-vibration tool design coupled to certain absorbent materials, available as gloving, can in combination provide frequency specific filtering and cancellation that will likely eliminate clinical and some sub-clinical sequalae of tool-specific vibratory exposure. The proposed structured intervention, coupled to intensive laboratory assessment, advances two hypotheses:

(1) that matching the transmission spectra of gloves and tools can radically reduce energy transfer to the handarm system; and (2) that the real time, full-shift, logging of exposure through specialized sensors and the measurement of cross-shift physiological responses can accurately quantify exposure reduction. In order to reach study aims, the following will be required:

1. Field settings where transmissibility of vibration to the hand can be assessed over a full working day, while accounting for variation in grip and posture, work patterns, recovery, and multiple tools.

2. An applied laboratory where tools and gloves can be evaluated with skilled human subjects to quantify the most promising tools and materials.

3. A basic sciences laboratory equipped with laser vibrometry and a tri-axial stimulus generator for producing 3-D replica in the time and force domains of tools measured in the field.

4. An electronics laboratory equipped to make appropriate revisions to data loggers and sensors for field testing, and tactometers for detecting rapid cross-shift changes in hand function.

A major national manufacturer has joined this project.

This study is designed to provide a practical solution to hand-arm vibration protection with important public health consequences for several million American workers."

Mission Relevance

This project is relevant to the mission of the NIOSH Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) Cross-Sector research program. This program seeks to reduce the burden of work-related MSDs through a focused program of research and prevention that protects workers from MSDs, helps management mitigate related risks and liabilities, and helps practitioners improve the efficacy of workplace interventions. The potential adverse effects of vibration to the hands of workers using vibrating hand tools, such as foresters, is well known.