Vibration risk reduction


  • Alessandro Peretti Università di Padova, Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina del Lavoro



Hand-held portable power tools, Transport Self-propelled machines, Vibration control


The risk related to vibration transmitted to the hand-arm system at first may be reduced choosing different types of machines instead of traditional hand-held portable power tools. The vibration reductioncould be realized decoupling the handle from the tool body. In the case of pneumatic machines, it could be related to the type of clutch or to the type of impulse for screwdrivers, and to the air buffer for hammers. The tool ought to be selected among those recommended by the machine manufacturer: its features and its specific assembly could be crucial for the vibration. The direct contact between the hand and the tool must be avoided during the movement either alternative or rotating. The operator has to minimize the gripping and push forces to the handle. The use of gloves is essential; in case of high frequency vibration, anti-vibration gloves could be useful. The control and maintenance of ball bearings, bushes, shafts, gears are very important to limit the vibration.

The risk related to vibration transmitted to the whole body at first may be reduced choosing low vibration machines. This may be difficult in case of means of transport because they already have a high comfort level. In case of self-propelled machines, it is better to select those with suspension system applied to the cab (tractors, lift trucks, excavators, loader, backhoe loader) or applied to the shafts (tractors). Innovative machines are available on the market but unfortunately many outdated machines are still in use. The driver’s seat is very important: it could be characterized by a mechanical or pneumatic suspension which operates along the vertical axis. The wheels, also, could play a key role; for example, cushion or super elastic or pneumatic wheels could be installed on lift trucks. In agricultural tractors, the reduction in tires pressure causes a vibration decrease while the not uniform deterioration of tire tread could increase the vibration. The vibration is highly related to the vehicle speed and to the surface homogeneity: the greater the speed and the non-uniformities, the higher the stresses and therefore the vibration. The machinery’s maintenance is always fundamental.

Experimental investigations targeted to identify the parameters which are more relevant in the exposition to vibration assume a decisive role in a risk reduction plan.



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