The European Union's new Vibration Directive, 2002/44/EC, requires that personal protective equipment (PPE) be used at workplaces at which engineered and/or organizational measures are not sufficient for observance of the limit values. Anti-vibration gloves are available for work involving exposure to hand-arm vibration. The effectiveness of these gloves has been limited to date to certain machines, and is also relatively poor. Like all personal protective equipment within the EU, anti-vibration gloves must be tested and certified. According to the information currently available, however, the associated criteria are not applied uniformly by all certification bodies. Suitable instructions for selection by users are also lacking. A pilot study was performed in order to document the anti-vibration gloves currently available on the market and to assess the protection which they actually offer and their areas of application (instructions for selection) in accordance with the manufacturers' information. A subsequent project is to be conducted in order to eliminate deficits identified during development of a harmonized selection procedure. The study shall be based upon the long-term vibration emission measured in the risk analysis and the specific vibration frequency characteristic of the machine/equipment used.
A comprehensive analysis of the existing situation was first to be produced in the pilot study. Through a member company, the BG responsible for the construction industry obtained samples of the anti-vibration gloves currently available on the market. The accompanying user information was assessed, and the gloves' suitability for use in the context of prevention measures addressed by the EU Vibration Directive thus identified. Where necessary, random checks of the vibration attenuation values stated in the user information were to be performed in the vibration laboratory, in accordance with DIN EN ISO 10819, "Mechanical vibration and shock - Hand-arm vibration - Method for the measurement and evaluation of the vibration transmissibility of gloves at the palm of the hand". A follow-on project is to produce a list of deficits, which in turn will serve as a basis for the planned subsequent development of a harmonized procedure for the selection of anti-vibration gloves.
The analysis of the existing situation was conducted in three stages: identification of the anti-vibration gloves certified to date within the scope of the EU Single Market directive for PPE (manufacturers, suppliers); procurement of the models currently available on the German market; and analysis of the accompanying user information with regard to effective use within the scope of the prevention provisions of the new EU Vibration Directive, 2002/44/EC.
Of a total of eleven identified certified models, only five anti-vibration gloves were actually available for purchase, despite an intensive search. The manufacturers/suppliers cited the lack of demand to date as the reason for the poor offering. Analysis showed that in contravention of the provisions of the EN ISO 10819 test standard, two fingerless models had been certified. These products should not be sold on the Single Market. Of the three models with fingers, two gloves exhibited substantial deficiencies (missing or incorrect information on the protective action, the mechanical risks, and the protection against vibration; illegibility of the user information owing to microprint, etc.). Only one model of glove proved to be suitable in accordance with the EU prevention regulations. The random inspection revealed that the vibration attenuation values indicated in the user information were not reached in all cases. As a general rule, the attenuation values obtained in the laboratory test procedure for anti-vibration gloves tested and certified to EN ISO 10819 cannot be applied directly for assessment of the reduction in risk attained by their use. Attention was not drawn in any of the user information to this limitation, which is stated explicitly in the test standard. This deficiency in the specific user information must be eliminated in the revision of the test standard which is currently planned. Concurrently, a follow-on project is to develop a practicable selection procedure by which suitable protective gloves can be selected for certain machine types associated with vibration exposure (suitable for machine manufacturers for information purposes, and for machine users in consideration of specific work exposure).
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
Lärm/Vibrationen, Arbeitsbedingte Erkrankungen, Gestaltung von Arbeit und TechnikCatchwords:
Persönliche Schutzausrüstung, Vibration, PräventionDescription, key words:
hand-arm vibration, vibration exposure, attenuation, personal protective equipment (PPE), selection procedure