At one Finnish foundry all the workers had typical symptoms of vibration induced white finger (VWF) after they began using a new type of pedestal grinding machine. The objectives of this study were to establish the severity of the symptoms and the difference in vibration exposure between the new and the old machines. Vibration detection thresholds and grip forces were measured, as well as the vibration in the casting and in the wrist simultaneously. The mean latency for VWF among the grinders was 10.3 months after the change of pedestal grinding machines. All the grinders had numbness in their hands. The vibration detection threshold was significantly higher for the grinders than for their referents. At the same circle speed, the new wheels caused vibration levels up to 12 dB more than the old wheels. The circle speed had a slight influence on the vibration. The vibration levels of light (0.5 kg) casting were up to 25 dB higher than the heavy (5 kg) casting. The use of a pneumatic pressing device decreased the vibration levels in the wrist by 5-10 dB. The increase in vibration, which occurred when the new wheels were taken into use, was too small to explain such a dramatic outbreak of VWF. This led to the conclusion that some other feature such as the impulse character of the vibration also contributed to the effects of vibration.
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