The effects of a visco-elastic polymer glove on hand-arm vibration, muscle activity, and comfort during simulated power tool use
Shivpaul, Ryan Alexander
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Prolonged exposure to hand-transmitted vibration (HTV) as a result of power tools can lead to hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). The effectiveness of anti-vibration (AV) gloves for the reduction of hand arm vibration remains unclear. The ability of a glove to attenuate vibration is largely influenced by the material properties and forearm muscle activity during tool use. Visco-elastic polymer (gel-based) and air-bladder AV gloves are the most common options, however the material properties of gel based options have seen little attention. The purpose of this study is to investigate vibration transmissibility, forearm muscle activity and subjective grip dexterity using a variety of gel-based compositions and designs. Participants completed six simulated hand-held power tool tasks. RMS vibration, grip force, muscle activity, and perceived levels of comfort, dexterity, onset of forearm muscle fatigue and impairment of tactile sensation were collected. Vibration attenuation was most effective along the Z axis, with properties such as decreased contact stiffness, as well as increased mass, elasticity and viscosity performing better. Further investigation of visco-elastic polymers using the ISO standardized protocol is needed.