Fingers-transmitted vibration can cause vibration-induced white finger. The effectiveness of vibration-reducing (VR) gloves for reducing hand transmitted vibration to the fingers has not been sufficiently examined.
The objective of this study is to examine tool-specific performance of VR gloves for reducing finger-transmitted vibrations in three orthogonal directions (3D) from powered hand tools.
A transfer function method was used to estimate the tool-specific effectiveness of four typical VR gloves. The transfer functions of the VR glove fingers in three directions were either measured in this study or during a previous study using a 3D laser vibrometer. More than seventy vibration spectra of various tools or machines were used in the estimations.
When assessed based on frequency-weighted acceleration, the gloves provided little vibration reduction. In some cases, the gloves amplified the vibration by more than 10%, especially the neoprene glove. However, the neoprene glove did the best when the assessment was based on unweighted acceleration. The neoprene glove was able to reduce the vibration by 10% or more of the unweighted vibration for 27 out of the 79 tools. If the dominant vibration of a tool handle or workpiece was in the shear direction relative to the fingers, as observed in the operation of needle scalers, hammer chisels, and bucking bars, the gloves did not reduce the vibration but increased it.
This study confirmed that the effectiveness for reducing vibration varied with the gloves and the vibration reduction of each glove depended on tool, vibration direction to the fingers, and finger location. VR gloves, including certified anti-vibration gloves do not provide much vibration reduction when judged based on frequency-weighted acceleration. However, some of the VR gloves can provide more than 10% reduction of the unweighted vibration for some tools or workpieces. Tools and gloves can be matched for better effectiveness for protecting the fingers.
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