Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Thomas Bernard, Ph.D.


Vibration white finger, Dead hand, Percussive tool, Rotational tool, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


The United States Navy incorporates many different occupations to ensure it achieves its overall mission. These occupations are extremely diversified and present a wide spectrum of occupational exposures. Many of these exposures have been well studied and documented. However, shipboard pneumatic tool hand-arm vibration, (HAV) and how it relates to different body postures is an area of occupational exposure that has received little attention. The chief objective of this study was to assess whether there is a difference in hand-arm vibration levels, while working on one of two surface orientations (e.g., horizontal and vertical) among distinctly different pneumatic tools while cleaning or not cleaning. The design of the study evaluated three pneumatic tools cleaning both horizontal and vertical surfaces and the fourth tool only cleaning a horizontal surface. HAV levels were measured to identify the effect horizontal and vertical surface orientations had on the tool.

Five subjects were used in the evaluation of the four tools by a random sequencing order. Each subject was required to hold the tool in an idle condition, an activated without cleaning condition, and an activated cleaning condition, (surface contact) for 20 seconds each. These conditions were evaluated in two different surface orientations; horizontal and vertical (except for the 4th tool). Each subject repeated each of the cleaning/not cleaning conditions three times for a total of 7 measurements per surface. The idle condition was only conducted one time for each tool and surface. The measurements were collected from a Quest, HAVPro instrument using an accelerometer on the pneumatic tool following ISO 5349-1:2001 and ISO 5349-2:2001 methods.A three-way ANOVA (subjects by tool, by condition, (cleaning vs. not cleaning) and tool vs. condition) with replicates (not including idle conditions) was conducted on the data.

The analysis included the main effects and the interaction of tool and surface orientation. The subjects were treated as a blocking variable. All the main effects and the interaction were significant at p<0.0001, except for surface, p<0.6396. Surface orientation does not affect HAV levels in pneumatic tools.