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Work Tool Vibration – Dangers of Continuous Exposure

 

DON’T LOSE THE FEELING!

 

Constant Vibration causes Long Term Physical Damage by Stealth.

Short Term symptoms being: Tingling Fingers; White (to deep Red) Finger Tips; Pins and Needles in Forearms; Painful aching in Hands and Arms; Irritation and Inflammation in Wrist, Elbow and Shoulder Joints.

Longer Term damage to Nerve endings; Skin Tissue, Muscle and Tendons; Ability to accurately manipulate fingers; Strength to grasp / control objects with hands; Loss of Strength in Arm, Elbow, Shoulder; Chronic pain and Discomfort.

Yes this is unfortunately all true. There is more than 50 years of evidence proving that continuous exposure to harmful levels of Vibratory Shock can cause long term detrimental health effects to your quality of life. In this article I will try to simplify what can be a somewhat complicated topic.

Any of us that have experienced the tingling of fingers after using a motorised or powered tool, will know what the early warning signs are. Because this ‘short term’ discomfort goes away over time, we tend to not worry about it until the next time it happens when working with Vibrating machinery again.

The trouble is that each time we are exposed to these short term high speed pieces of equipment, our bodies are experiencing changes in our blood vessels and consequently our skin and muscle tissue. At first this does not appear to be of a major concern, but over time the accumulated effect (time weighted) of this constant exposure begins to become more apparent.

By the time that we start to notice the physiological discomfort remains long after the exposure to high levels of Vibration has occurred, it is too late to repair the damage done to our bodies system.

The message for users of vibrating work tools, is to take precautionary steps to reduce the amount of exposure by decreasing the Vibration transmission through our bodies.

Vibration is measured in m/s2 (meters per second squared), the International Standards Organisation scientists have been hard at work arriving at a guideline for how much Vibration we can be exposed to in any given day, before causing ill effect to individuals and corrective steps need to be taken; reference AS ISO 5349.1-2013.

One of the most useful pieces of data from these studies is a table providing the amount of exposure per 8 hour day verses the speed / acceleration (vibration magnitude transmitted by the tool) measured in m/s2.

 

From this table (1); Your daily exposure to vibration is measured by a formula known as an A(8) value. This is the average (A) exposure over an eight-hour (8) day and takes into account the magnitude of the vibration and how long you are exposed to it. The rate of vibration of a tool or piece of machinery is measured in metres (m) per second (s) per second – its movement (acceleration) per second.

 

The relevant Australian Standard, is adopted from the accepted International Standard ISO 5349.1-2013. This predominately European Standard specifies daily exposure levels at which employers will be required to take action to control risks. These are known as Exposure Action Values (EAVs). The regulations also set out Exposure Limit Values (ELVs). Where these are reached, the employer must prevent further daily exposure.

For hand-arm vibration (HAV), the daily ELV is 5 m/s2 A(8) and the daily EAV is 2.5 m/s2 A(8).

Accurate task at hand Vibration readings can be taken by a mobile sensor being attached to the grip handle of the tool / machinery being operated. The exposure levels can then be calculated as a factor of the Intensity of Vibration (m/s2) and the actual Time Exposed (operation trigger time).

Once again, from the Vibration Exposure table (1), one can see that at 2.5m/s2 exposure an 8 hour Maximum day is the cut off before some form of preventative action must be taken. At 5m/s2 any exposure over 1 hour approaches potentially dangerous levels of Vibration Transmission to the Hand and Arm of the body.

In realising that not everyone (or every company) is in the position to Hire or Purchase the monitoring equipment necessary to take accurate m/s2 readings, there is another alternative, this format is available to calculate the potential exposure and therefore better understand the average m/s2 reading from the reported generic output of each tool type.

From these reported average readings we can continue to use the exposure table (1) by correlating the given m/s2 value against our Vibration exposure time. N.B: It is wise to build into your calculations a 20% uncertainty factor when adopting a stereotypical ‘generic’ measurement of tool types.

Table 2 provides examples of vibration magnitudes measured by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) UK.

It is interesting to note that almost all of the tool types listed and measured by the UK Health and Safety Executive are producing readings of over 5m/s2. This of course means that action needs to be taken to reduce the levels of exposure. Control measures such as changes to engineering controls or work practices; procurement of newer low vibration transmission tools for the task; Potential Cessation of this type of work; or Provision of suitable Vibration Frequency reduction P.P.E.

 

 

Recent scientific studies have reported that Vibration Oscillation intensity alters at each specific frequency range. Therefore any tool, dependant on exact force being applied and the corresponding selected material type being worked, can produce different Vibration Transmissions at potentially the same working tool RPM.

Raw material advancement and Manufacturing developments in relating to Vibration Reducing Hand Protection (P.P.E gloves); Are now linking up with laboratories to refine testing and product compound calibration for increased Vibration Frequency reduction. We now have specially developed Frequency Tuned Vibration / Shock absorbing material compounds that work best at calculated frequency ranges.

In fact we now understand that any one specific type of shock absorbing material will not perform well over the complete Vibration Frequency range (80 to 1,000Hz). Meaning that there is no so called “Anti-Vibration” glove that will provide protection across all Tool application outputs. Therefore it is very important for us to know what Frequency in Hertz (Hz) or Revolutions per Minute (RPM) that the Vibratory equipment is operating at, in order to match the correct glove to the task.

Most manufacturers of Power and Impact Tools will have each specific tool data containing the operating Hz and or RPM. From this we can then analyse the exact type of protective material best suited to that tools Vibration Frequency operating range. As an easy reckoner, 300Hz is considered the changeover Frequency between Low and High octave band, and most impact tools and powered garden equipment operate below 300Hz in maximum operation range. N.B: 300Hz = 18,000RPM.

This article is intended as educational opinion, derived from years of associated study and manufacturing partners research on the topic of Vibration Transmission Reduction. Apart from the ISO and EU standards quoted as reference, major acknowledgement and Thanks must go to Safe Work Australia for their 2015 paper on ‘Workplace Exposure to Hand Arm Vibration’, of which the major tables used here are associated. Their full paper on this important topic is able to be viewed at: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1703/guidetomeasuringassessinghandarmvibration.pdf

 

 

 

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Chemical and Liquid Resistant Gloves

When choosing the right safety gloves you must seriously consider the fit, function, and what’s most important, the protection level required for the job. Selecting the right glove is crucial if safety is your number one priority, especially when it comes to handling various chemicals and liquids at your workplace. Hence, you’d better get your PPE from a reliable glove supplier. If you’re looking for a glove safety Brisbane located supplier, look no further and contact PIP Aus to ensure you get the best hand protection either for yourself or your company’s workers.

As we already mentioned, hand protection is of high importance when handling chemicals and thus you need to determine the appropriate type of glove required for the job at hand. To do so, you should ask yourself some questions and carefully think about and determine the following factors that will help you select the right pair of gloves for you:

  • Types of chemicals being handled
  • The nature of contact – total immersion or splashes only
  • The duration of contact
  • The body parts that need protection – hand, forearm, or arm protection
  • The grip and dexterity level needed

Now that you know which elements will affect your decision and choice, we may move on and discuss the different materials used for manufacturing chemical-resistant gloves.

Namely, such gloves are generally made from various kinds of rubber including natural (latex), neoprene, butyl, nitrile, and fluorocarbon (Viton), and several types of plastic such as polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyethylene. All of these materials can be combined or covered with an extra layer to provide better protection and performance.

So, let’s have a look at the most commonly used chemical and liquid-resistant gloves and their application:

  1. Butyl Gloves

This type of glove is commonly used when a person is exposed to a substance for an extended period of time. They are made of synthetic rubber and provide protection not only from many different chemicals but also from oxidation, water, steam permeation, and abrasion. What’s more, is that they keep their flexibility even at low temperatures. Butyl rubber gloves protect from:

  • Ketones, esters, alcohols
  • Peroxides
  • Rocket fuels
  • Nitric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Strong bases
  1. Natural (Latex) Gloves

Natural (latex) rubber gloves are designed to protect from incidental chemical contact. They are suitable for people handling biological hazards or water-based liquids. Plus, they offer great tensile strength, flexibility, comfort, and temperature resistance. Also, they protect from grinding or polishing abrasions. These gloves protect from:

  • Acids
  • Alkalis
  • Salts
  • Ketones

Furthermore, in case of latex allergy, they can be replaced with hypoallergenic gloves, glove liners, and powder-less gloves.

  1. Neoprene Gloves

Made of synthetic rubber, these gloves offer good flexibility, finger dexterity, and resistance against high density and tear. In general, they have higher chemical and wear-resistance features than natural latex gloves. Neoprene gloves protect from:

  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Gasoline
  • Alcohols
  • Organic acids
  • Alkalis
  • Peroxides
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Bases
  1. Nitrile Gloves

These gloves are made of a copolymer and are considered to be versatile, general-use safety gloves. Nitrile disposable exam gloves are suitable for incidental contact whereas nitrile thicker gloves are intended for extended contact. They offer protection from:

  • Chlorinated solvents
  • Petroleum oils
  • Greases
  • Gasoline
  • Certain acids and bases
  • Caustics
  • Alcohols

However, they aren’t the best glove safety choice when it comes to handling strong oxidizing agents, acetates, ketones, and aromatic solvents.

Which Work Gloves to Choose Depending on the Protection Needed

Do you run a company and look for a PPE (personal protective equipment) supplier? Are you specifically interested in hand protection? If you’re looking for a National Designer who supplies to Trade Distributors all you need is to get in touch with PIP Aus, which is one of the best gloves suppliers in Australia with long lasting history and experience.

But, do you know which gloves your employees need based on the work they do, the potential hazards they may face, and the protection they need? No worries, in this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

Here’s the basic guide on choosing the right work gloves for providing the right protection:

Cuts and Punctures Protection

In general, many jobs like metalworking, landscaping, gardening, or any other job that involves tools, need gloves that are resistant to punctures. Cut resistant gloves can help you lower the risk of getting cuts while doing work tasks, but, remember, they won’t help you protect from all types of injuries.

So, search for gloves made of a material that provides the right padding and thickness. For example, leather gloves can reduce the chance of getting splinters. Or, consider something more complex such as padded fingers, knuckle guards, or reinforced palms.

Bruising and Blistering Protection

Wearing gloves that are resistant to impact is very important and necessary when doing some heavy work like woodworking or construction, or when handling power tools.

Gloves that provide protection from bruising and blistering usually offer extra palm and knuckle padding. So, in case of a heavy blow or power tool vibration, the padding will take up the shock and protect hands from bruising, chafing, and blistering.

Liquid and Chemicals Protection

Many job descriptions require employees to handle water, oil, chemicals, or other liquids in completing work tasks, for instance, plumbing, painting, auto work, etc. which can often damage skin. For that reason, high protection gloves are a must. However, even though the gloves have to be watertight they still have to allow free and easy movement.

For a complete resistance, you should search for rubber-coated gloves or other waterproof material. Yet, if you do not need maximum resistance, you can find some gloves made of materials that simply shed water. Or, if you want to protect your construction workers from mortar, concrete, or tar, you can get gloves coated in special rubber.

Heat and Cold Protection

Certain jobs like metalwork and welding include heat, whereas some jobs like snow shoveling or simply outdoor work in bad weather require temperature protection gloves.

For heat protection, you should look for gloves that are first and foremost made of fire-resistant durable material and that prevent injuries from sparks. And in order to prevent gloves ignition, heat-resistant gloves also feature a flame retardant. On the other hand, cold-resistant gloves are coated in special materials that keep heat inside the gloves and provide insulation.

Electricity Protection

Last but not least, certain tasks involve working around electric currents or near live wires. In order to reduce the risk of flash burns or electric shocks, you should look for gloves with Flame Retardant, Arc Flash capabilities and / or High Voltage Insulation properties. Specialist selection advice and information on the new Eureka Maintenance Electrician work gloves is available from pipaus.com.