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Solution Summary: Reduced Vibration Power Tools

A reduced vibration, or anti-vibration, power tool produces less vibration than conventional tools during construction operations.

Description:

A reduced vibration, or anti-vibration, power tool is an engineering control designed to generate less vibration than conventional power tools.  Many tools are now available that are designed to produce less vibration. Reduced vibration tools should always be used with full-fingered anti-vibration gloves that are certified to meet international vibration standards (ISO 10819).
 

Some hand-held power tools can produce a lot of vibration. Certain tools generate vibration levels so high thay they can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the worker's hands. Workers are at a greater risk of developing a vibration-related injury if they use vibrating power tools often or for long periods of time. These injuries can be prevented, but there is no cure once damage has been done. One solution is to use reduced vibration power tools. Many tools are now available that are designed to produce less vibration. Reduced vibration tools should always be used with full-fingered anti-vibration gloves that are certified to meet international vibration standards (ISO 10819).

worker using power vibration tool        
Figure 1. Fibration dampening tool in use


anti vibration gloves
Figure 2. Vibration-dampening gloves


Risks Addressed:

Hand-arm vibration can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of elbow and wrist tendons; or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is compression of a wrist nerve, resulting in finger numbness and loss of hand strength.  Reduced vibration power tools reduce the amount of vibration transmitted through the handles of the machine and onto the person using the equipment.

Hand-arm vibration can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of elbow and wrist tendons; or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is compression of a wrist nerve, resulting in finger numbness and loss of hand strength.  Reduced vibration power tools reduce the amount of vibration transmitted through the handles of the machine and onto the person using the equipment.


How Risks are Reduced:

Reduced vibration power tools reduce the amount of vibration transmitted through the handles of the machine and onto the person using the equipment. Risk of injury related to use of vibrating tools is related to the level of vibration and the amount of time that the tool is used. If the vibration level of a tool is reduced, then workers can use that tool for a longer period of time and the risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome is reduced.


Quality of Evidence (Risk Reduction):

  • Manufacturers, vendors, or worksites have reported a risk reduction.
  • Safety and health experts believe there is a risk reduction.

Quality of Evidence Explanation (Risk Reduction):

Companies such as Bosch, DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Black & Decker have produced power tools that are specially designed to produce less vibration in order to minimize the harmful effects associated with hand-arm vibration.

Studies have shown that hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) occurs in people with exposure to hand-arm vibration. However, there is not specific research to demonstrate the effect of reduced vibration power tools on preventing HAVS. Health and safey experts believe that any reduction in exposure to hand-arm vibration could be beneficial in preventing new cases of HAVS.


Effects on Productivity:

Tools and processes that create excessive hand-arm vibration to users (workers) may have an impact on production and maintenance, which may impact schedule or cost. Products may be more costly to produce and maintain due to effects of HAV on skilled production workers.


Quality of Evidence (Effects on Productivity):

  • Manufacturers or vendors have reported an increase in productivity.
  • Safety and health experts believe there is an increase in productivity.

Quality of Evidence Explanation (Effects on Productivity):

Companies such as Bosch, DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Black & Decker have produced power tools that are specially designed to produce less vibration.  

Studies have shown a clear association between using vibrating power tools and Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Health and safety experts believe that using reduced vibration tools may increase productivity because 1) the tool can be used for longer periods, and 2) there may be a reduction in lost time injuries due as a result of HAVS, and 3) workers whose fingers are numb from using power tools are more likely to make errors while working.


Additional Considerations:

  • Purchase and use only power tools which are designed to reduce vibration (called anti-vibration, or A/V) and reduce musculoskeletal injuries.  NOTE: An ergonomically designed power tool does not mean the tool has reduced vibration attributes and vice versa.
  • Use only full-finger protected anti-vibration gloves, which meet or exceed the following Anti-vibration Glove standard: ANSI S3.40-2002 - ISO 10819.
  • Use good work practices, including: 
    • Letting the power tool do the work
    • Holding the power tool with the slightest, grip possible, consistent with safe work practices
    • Keeping hands and body warm and dry
    • Not smoking (nicotine, cold, and vibration all constrict blood vessels - impeding circulation)
  • Maintain power tools in good condition.
  • Make workers aware of hand-arm vibration signs and symptoms, and the need to see their safety managers and health care providers if signs and symptoms occur.

Contributors:

Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC and Alysha Meyers, PhD – University of Iowa


Hazards Addressed:


Sources:

Albers, James T., and Estill, Cheryl F.  Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Construction Workers.  DHHS (NIOSH) Publications.  March 2007.  http://www.cdc.gov/niosh.  To view the Table of Contents for the Simple Solutions Document, please visit:  http://www.cpwr.com/simple.html.  Please send requests for copies of this publication to cdcinfo@cdc.gov, referencing document number 2007-122.

 

Availability

Anti-vibration tools
Anti-vibration tools are general tools that may be found at your local hardware store or directly from the manufacturer's website. Some manufacturers' websites have vibration exposure calculators, such as DeWalt Power Tools and Milwaukee Tools. Black & Decker and Dewalt and Hitachi and Milwaukee or contact 1-800-544-6986

 

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.

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