Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering
Hand injuries account for a leading cause of occupational injuries requiring treatment from United States' hospital emergency departments. These occupational injuries generate a substantial burden on employers in terms of both cost and productivity. Occupational safety gloves are an effective preventive measure of these hand and finger injuries. However, these occupational safety gloves can result in unintended injuries due to factors such as extreme conditions of temperature, relative humidity, and physical demand. The purpose of this study is to collect data on the physiological responses of the hand-finger system and their relationship with these identified factors. The physiological responses measured were skin conductance, blood perfusion, and perceived discomfort. A chamber was used to isolate human subjects' hands and precisely control the conditions of temperature and relative humidity to replicate the internal conditions within occupational safety gloves. Seventeen human subjects each performed three hours of experimental trials that routinely required the physical exertion of lateral pinching. The microclimate condition of temperature was shown to have a significant effect on perceived discomfort and skin conductance. The microclimate condition of relative humidity was shown to have a significant effect on skin conductance. The occupational condition of repetitive physical demand was shown to have a significant effect on perceived discomfort, skin conductance, and blood perfusion. The results of this study may assist ergonomists in selecting or suggesting occupational gloves for workers while minimizing risk of injury.
Kaiser, John, "The effects of controlled environmental and physical factors on the physiological responses of the handfinger system" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 5920.