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Articles by Thomas W. McDowell
Total Records ( 3 ) for Thomas W. McDowell
  Thomas W. McDowell , R. G. Dong , X. Xu , D. E. Welcome and C. Warren
  In the interest of providing more effective evaluations of impact wrench vibration exposures and the development of improved methods for measuring vibration emissions produced by these tools, this study focused on three variables: acceleration measured at the tool surface, vibration exposure duration per test trial, and the amount of torque required to unseat the nuts following a test trial. For this evaluation, six experienced male impact wrench operators used three samples each of five impact wrench models (four pneumatic models and one battery-powered model) in a simulated work task. The test setup and procedures were based on those provided by an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee overseeing the revision of ISO 8662-7. The work task involved the seating of 10 nuts onto 10 bolts mounted on steel plates. The results indicate that acceleration magnitudes vary not only by tool type but also by individual tools within a type. Thus, evaluators are cautioned against drawing conclusions based on small numbers of tools and/or tool operators. Appropriate sample sizes are suggested. It was further noted that evaluators could draw different conclusions if tool assessments are based on ISO-weighted acceleration as opposed to unweighted acceleration. As expected, vibration exposure durations varied by tool type and by test subject; duration means varied more for study participants than they did for tool types. For the 12 pneumatic tools evaluated in this study, torque varied directly with tool handle acceleration. Therefore, in order to reduce vibration exposure, tools should be selected and adjusted so that they produce no more than the needed torque for the task at hand.
  Thomas W. McDowell , Christopher Warren , Daniel E. Welcome and Ren G. Dong
  The use of riveting hammers can expose workers to harmful levels of hand-transmitted vibration (HTV). As a part of efforts to reduce HTV exposures through tool selection, the primary objective of this study was to evaluate the applicability of a standardized laboratory-based riveting hammer assessment protocol for screening riveting hammers. The second objective was to characterize the vibration emissions of reduced vibration riveting hammers and to make approximations of the HTV exposures of workers operating these tools in actual work tasks. Eight pneumatic riveting hammers were selected for the study. They were first assessed in a laboratory using the standardized method for measuring vibration emissions at the tool handle. The tools were then further assessed under actual working conditions during three aircraft sheet metal riveting tasks. Although the average vibration magnitudes of the riveting hammers measured in the laboratory test were considerably different from those measured in the field study, the rank orders of the tools determined via these tests were fairly consistent, especially for the lower vibration tools. This study identified four tools that consistently exhibited lower frequency-weighted and unweighted accelerations in both the laboratory and workplace evaluations. These observations suggest that the standardized riveting hammer test is acceptable for identifying tools that could be expected to exhibit lower vibrations in workplace environments. However, the large differences between the accelerations measured in the laboratory and field suggest that the standardized laboratory-based tool assessment is not suitable for estimating workplace riveting hammer HTV exposures. Based on the frequency-weighted accelerations measured at the tool handles during the three work tasks, the sheet metal mechanics assigned to these tasks at the studied workplace are unlikely to exceed the daily vibration exposure action value (2.5 m s-2) using any of the evaluated riveting hammers.
  Thomas W. McDowell , Daniel E. Welcome , Christopher Warren , Xueyan S. Xu and Ren G. Dong
  Motorized vibrating manure forks were used in beach-cleaning operations following the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to characterize the vibration emissions of these motorized forks and to provide a first approximation of hand-transmitted vibration exposures to workers using these forks for beach cleaning.

Methods: Eight operators were recruited to operate the motorized forks during this laboratory study. Four fork configurations were used in the study; two motor speeds and two fork basket options were evaluated. Accelerations were measured near each hand as the operators completed the simulated beach-cleaning task.

Results: The dominant vibration frequency for these tools was identified to be around 20 Hz. Because acceleration was found to increase with motor speed, workers should consider operating these tools with just enough speed to get the job done. These forks exhibited considerable acceleration magnitudes when unloaded.

Conclusions: The study results suggest that the motor should not be operated with the fork in the unloaded state. Anti-vibration gloves are not effective at attenuating the vibration frequencies produced by these forks, and they may even amplify the transmitted vibration and increase hand/arm fatigue. While regular work gloves are suitable, vibration-reducing gloves may not be appropriate for use with these tools. These considerations may also be generally applicable for the use of motorized forks in other workplace environments.

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