The magnitude of hand- (HTV) and wrist- (WTV) transmitted vibration can negatively impact upper limb responses even during short-term exposure. This study aimed to establish the effects of various handle-grip designs on the harmful impacts of vibration, sustained grip exertion, and unnatural posture. The primary focus was to investigate how using a handle grip and how three shapes with two surface profiles affect HTV, WTV, and forearm muscle activities during exposure. The secondary goal was to evaluate the immediate effects on fundamental hand functions, perceived discomfort/comfort, and perceived vibration level after exposure. The final objective was to assess which of the handle designs had the least harmful effects. Fourteen young male adults were recruited and asked to consistently grip a vibrating handle structure for 2 min while the primary parameters were recorded. Pre- and post-task measurements of secondary parameters were recorded on the six design conditions and one control condition (no handle grip). The study found that implementing a regular circular-smooth handle resulted in lower transmitted vibrations, leading to lower upper-limb discomfort, higher grip comfort, and lower perceived vibration. Additionally, shape significantly affected HTV, resulting in grip strength reduction, while surface profile did not influence transmitted vibrations but significantly impacted ring and small finger sensitivity, finger and hand discomfort, and grip comfort. Finally, forearm muscle activities were unaffected, and no significant interaction effects were observed. Circular handles also had the least negative impacts, and elliptic handles had the most negative impacts on the upper extremity because of the level of hand-handle contact stress and hand-grip effort. Meanwhile, the uneven distribution of vibration on the fingers and palm imposed by the rounded spikes on the patterned surface led to decreased finger sensitivity, higher discomfort, and lower grip comfort. Therefore, when machine operation involves moderate grip exertion, pronated forearm posture, and short-term handle vibration exposure, implementing a hard-solid handle with less hand-handle contact area, less grip effort, and even texture is recommended.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health