Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Thomas E. Bernard

Keywords

personal, vision, gloves, dexterity, protection

Abstract

Work in many environments with chemical or biological agents requires the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and respirators. It is well established that glove thickness affects finger dexterity. There is further evidence that visual constraints (e.g., visual acuity) and gender may also impede finger dexterity. Therefore, the personal protection may place a barrier to the agent, but performance or productivity will decrease. The purpose of this study is to examine the potential effects of gloves and visual acuity as well as gender and first order interactions on task performance using standard dexterity tests. Five men and five women volunteered as participants in the study. There were four levels of gloves: None (as control), 9 mil, 18 mil, and 28 mil unlined latext gloves were used.

There were five levels of visual acuity: None as a negative control, masked goggles as a positive control, and masked goggles with occlusion foils of 20/50, 20/100 and <20/300. A full factorial design was used and the combinations were randomly assigned. Three platforms were used for this study: Prudue Pegboard, Grooved Pegboard and the placing task of the Minnesota Dexterity Test. These results showed that the main factors of Glove and Goggle were significant for all platforms and Gender was significant for the Purdue Pegboard and Grooved Pegboard. There were significant interactions among the main effects but these did not demonstrate a consistent pattern. The largest differences in performance were associated with the gloves, even at the last thickness of 9 mil. The increased thickness to 18 and 28 mil resulted in significant and large losses of performance. It was most marked with the smallerpieces of the pegboard tasks.

Generally women performed better than men for the pegboard tasks as expected and there were no differences for the larger pieces of the Minnesota tasks. Except for the greatest decrement in visual acuity, the differences among the levels of visual acuity were not significant. The expectedinteraction between gloves and acuity was not observed.

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