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Aerospace Standard 6228 developed to support improved productivity and reduce occupational disease among powered hand tool operators.


A joint US Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) project initially addressing procurement criteria for powered hand tools stimulated involvement of the SAE EG1-B Hand Tools committee and affiliated industry participants, producers of powered hand tools. It became apparent of the need to develop a standard that addresses occupational disease, productivity, life-cycle cost in the selection of Hand Power Tools. Committee efforts focused upon development of an SAE International Standard that considers productivity hand-arm vibration, noise, other safety and health factors and life-cycle costs in procurement criteria for powered hand tools. Aerospace Standard, AS 6228 Safety Requirements for Procurement, Maintenance and Use of Hand-held Powered Tools, was published in September 2014. Concurrently, a new committee, EG1-B1, Powered hand tools, productivity, Ergonomics and Safety, evolved from the EG1-B subcommittee initially formed to address this topic. The standard provides a process for semi-quantitative assessment and comparative weighting of factors including life-cycle cost, vibration, ergonomics and noise into the evaluation and procurement decision. GSA has adapted the standard in evaluation of powered hand tools and is currently making approximately 140 lower vibration/ergonomic tools available to Federal users and Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), while identifying new products based on customers supply support requests. Current efforts are focused on outreach to industry and DOD; development of a technical report describing application of the AS 6228 standard and extending the processes described here to other commodities and industrial processes.

CITATION: Geiger, M. and Ster, J., "Aerospace Standard 6228 Developed to Support Improved Productivity and Reduce Occupational Disease Among Powered Hand Tool Operators," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 9(1):2016,


Powered hand tools have become essential to a range of industrial operations since their first introduction when Samuel Ingersoll invented the pneumatic drill in 1871. The current U.S. powered hand tools market is in the range of $11 billion annually. However, progress often comes with risk. A range of potential hazards associated with hand-held powered tool use include noise, a range of ergonomic stresses and physical safety hazards. Most books on industrial safety include a chapter or section on hand tools and powered hand-held tools. [1] Acute physical injuries from failure or misuse of control/trigger mechanism are a particular concern, especially for products such as nail guns. At the same time, many users of power tools fail to employ a process management approach to process selection, procurement of the best available tools, maintenance of the equipment and education of users.

Table 1 summarizes the range of common health and safety hazards and their association with quality and productivity factors. Some of the health related impacts summarized in Table 1 will be discussed in more depth in the body of the article and cited references. Ergonomic Issues Associated with Powered Hand Tool Use The selection of tools, light weight, excellent power to weight ratio and user trigger time are factors within the AS 6228; taking into consideration the work settings/ fixtures which are unsuitable or inefficient for the work task being conducted. These factors compromise the productivity of workers and may create risk of long term disease and even disability. Common potential risk factors and related productivity impacts are summarized in Table 2 below.


The selection of tools, light weight, excellent power to weight ratio and user trigger time are factors within the AS 6228; taking into consideration the work settings/ fixtures which are unsuitable or inefficient for the work task being conducted. These factors compromise the productivity of workers and may create risk of long term disease and even disability. Common potential risk factors and related productivity impacts are summarized in Table 2 below.


Occupational noise exposure and related hearing loss is considered the most prevalent occupational disease. (See the NIOSH webpage addressing noise associated hearing loss http://www.cdc. gov/niosh/topics/noise/stats.html). SAE Standard AS 6228 has established benchmarks for noise with a goal of less than 85 dBA. The exact number of workers exposed to excessive levels of noise, which create risk of hearing loss, is not certain. NIOSH estimates this population to be in the range of four million within the United States. [2] A similar, or even greater fraction, of workers in the developing world are likely to be exposed to industrial noise, often without the level of attention to controls and/or protective equipment common in settings with a higher level of awareness, or enforcement, of industrial safety precautions.

The relationship between uncontrolled noise exposure and occupational hearing loss is so well established that there is an ANSI standard which correlates these factors mathematically. (ANSI S3.44-1996 1996) The relative contribution of powered hand tools hasn't been established, but even the casual visitor to many factories, maintenance facilities and construction sites is likely to notice the presence of power tools by the noise associated with their operation. Table 3 shows representative noise levels for common powered hand tools from the standard for hearing loss prevention for construction and demolition workers

Noise is measured on a logarithmic scale because of the wide range of sound level pressures created by natural and man-made sources and the non-linear response of the human ear to sound exposure. These noise levels shown above be compared to the recommended occupational exposure limit of 85 dBA for an 8-hour time weighted average exposure, with a 3 dB doubling of intensity which has been recommended by most standards organizations [2] [5] and adapted by the US Department of Defense [6], as well as applied to contractors performing work for DOD [7] in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations (Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Clause 52.236-13). This standard is much more stringent than the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 90 dBA for an 8-hour time weighted average. [8] The OSHA standard is known to be incompletely protective- up to 17% of unprotected workers would experience significant hearing loss if exposed to this level of noise for a working life-time. [5] (Also see DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2010-136

The effectiveness of personal protective equipment is widely overestimated and as a "rule of thumb" the effective level of noise attenuation provided by hearing protective equipment is approximately half the "ideal" Noise Reductive Rating (NRR) achieved in a laboratory setting. The OSHA hearing conservation standard includes an annex for calculation of effective NRR. [8] Thus, the selection and management of processes and equipment to minimize noise exposure are the paramount and most effective control measure.


One of the less publicized risks is hand-arm vibration, previously called Raynaud's Syndrome of occupational origin, a neurovascular disease associated with intense and prolonged exposures to vibration - most commonly from powered hand tools. (Pelmear 1998) Despite initial US reports in the early 1900s, the disease has remained under-recognized in the US. (Taylor, et al. 1984) (Wasserman, et al. 1982) (Pelmear 1998).

European Union regulations have created an increased awareness of hand-arm vibration disease and demand for low-vibration powered hand tools, while the US has lagged in this regard. (European Parliment and the Council of the European Union 2002) (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work 2008) (American National Standards Institute/ASA 2006 R-2011) (Also see additional resources). The criteria adapted as the basis of the Europe Union Standard and generally recommended criteria within the US, includes a dose response relation between exposure and risk of disease, which is a normative part of the standard. (American National Standards Institute/ASA 2006 R-2011) AS 6228 has established a working vibration of level of 2.5 m/[s.sup.2]. (SAE International EG1-B1 Committee 2014) Early recognition, control and exposure of this debilitating condition are critical because HAVS has been shown to be virtually irreversible after symptoms progress past initial stages. (Pelmear 1998). Muscular Skeletal Disorders such as HAVS, also known as "White Finger Disease" and carpal tunnel syndrome are typically developed over prolonged, daily regular exposure. (Bernard 1997)

Figure 1 illustrates the dose response curve associated with 10% incidence of HAV symptoms. The wide range of vibration (and noise) created by alternative products performing the same function makes initial product selection critical. Figure 2 illustrates the range of vibration exposures in a number of common powered hand tools and the presence of vibration levels exceeding the recommended standard of 5 m/s2 for an eight hour time weighted average. Selecting the correct Power tool can minimize the risk of Hand Arm-Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).


A DOD-funded project to address hand arm vibration was stimulated by outreach at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF). Craig Henderson, the ergonomics program manager in the Safety and Health Department at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and IMF, approached the General Services Administration (GSA) for assistance in obtaining low-vibration power hand tools. A representative of the tools section of GSA communicated this issue to the DOD Ergonomics Working Group (Moran February 2006). (2) This presentation provided the basis for a project sponsored by the Defense Safety Oversight Council (DSOC) and its Acquisition and Technology Task Force (working group) to improve education and awareness of HAVs and affect procurement specifications for power hand tools and certified anti-vibration (A/V) gloves. (M. Geiger 2006) DOD also requested GSA FAS collaboration in procurement of low-vibration power hand tools. (Readiness October 31,2007) (3) Prior to this project, low-vibration characteristics had not been routinely applied to selection criteria for Power Tool procurement or selection. Also, there were no suitable (certified) A/V gloves in the Federal supply system meeting relevant ISO/ANSI standards.

This project began in 2008 and was a part of a larger DOD/Navy effort to better integrate safety and health requirements and technology into management of defense acquisition, sustainment, and procurement processes. Technical outreach included education of safety and health professionals in operation of the Defense acquisition and logistics system; application of the system safety process to management of HAV and influencing process requirements for maintenance and support operations. Initial efforts included publication of a website describing common safety and health hazards associated with operation and maintenance of Navy ships, which included a section on whole body and segmental vibration (HAV). (4)

(See or www, - select the section on acquisition).

The issue of HAVS as a process issue requiring attention in design and support was communicated as a "system safety risk" necessitating the recognition and management involvement at an organizational level to ensure minimized risk/exposure. (Estrada 2005 August)

This project focused on minimizing HAVS risks through application and improvement of existing management processes, and the related education of both safety and health professionals and managers of maintenance and logistics processes; including maintenance training centers. Concurrently, it provided selective update of available power hand-tools and provision of certified anti-vibration A/V gloves, to minimize the risk of HAV injury. (M. (. Geiger October 26-29, 2009) The approach is also consistent with the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to provide guidance to the entire occupational safety and health community for moving research to practice in workplaces. (See http :// Engagement of "industry partners" both tool manufactures/vendors and non-DOD industrial facilities became part of the project outreach and eventually grew to include a list of approximately 200 diverse contacts. Outreach including periodic teleconferences with webinars presented by world-known experts in the field. The project and related communication effort was eventually reflected in an article published in the November 2014 Journal of Professional Safety. (Geiger, et al. 2014)


It became increasingly apparent, through the course of the DOD, NIOSH, GSA meetings and project reviews, that it was necessary to address hand-arm vibration in the context of a process management approach, particularly in the absence of binding regulatory criteria. Collaboration with GSA and affiliation with the SAE EG-1B committee on hand tools formally began in January 2012. (5) The need to link productivity, life cycle costs and safety and health factors was endorsed by the group. A detailed presentation describing cost-benefit analysis was developed through a joint effort of Boeing and Atlas Copco, was summarized by one of the authors (Mark Geiger) (6) The case study showed a five year cost of ownership for processes using better tools (rivet guns) approximately half that of the prior (legacy tool). (Persson 2011) The group was supportive but communicated the understanding that the life-cycle cost difference was obvious to producers of better tools, but required communication to tool buyers and users. One committee member, Mark Lehnart (formerly with Stanley-Black and Decker, recently retired), described this concept as the need to develop a "balanced scorecard" standard for evaluation of powered hand tools.

Development of a standard was initiated through the EG-1B Hand Tools Committee, chaired by one of the authors John M. Ster, and eventually resulted in the formation of a separate subcommittee within the SAE. The SAE Technical Committee EG-1B1, Powered Hand Tools - Productivity, Ergonomics and Safety, developed a process standard for comparative evaluation and selection of alternative products. (7) (SAE International EG1-B1 Commitee 2014) Table 4 summarizes factors considered in product evaluation. These review factors are intended to provide a "screening" tool for varied products and show a semi-quantitative comparative assessment. The standard also includes suggested forms for worker evaluation of alternative product, which should provide a more critical assessment.

GSA adapted the SAE AS 6288 standard for evaluation/selection of powered hand tools after its publication. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility applied the general approaches of the draft standard to a recent major procurement initiative to update powered hand tools in advance of a major project, Henderson, C. (2014). Concurrently, GSA has identified and is marketing approximately 140 low-vibration powered tools. DOD and GSA contacts are collaborating to developing marketing materials and outreach to advertise the availability of these products.

In 2013 SAE in coordination with Industry, the end users, and the Naval Safety Center, are focusing on specific attributes related to HAVS. Attributes consist of tool weight, trigger time, vibration, noise level, exposure time and efficiency of the specific tool. These attributes are rolled into the AS6228 "Balanced Score Card."

The next steps in will be to develop "Slant/Slash" describing the comparative evaluation/review factors relevant to each major category of tools. GSA is accumulating some of this information, but a standard and accessible repository is needed. One possible approach may be to request that the managers of the NIOSH and European databases for power tool noise and vibration consider hosting a location in which such information may be made publically available, with attribution to sources/generators of such evaluation guidelines.


DOD conducts and/or supervises one of the world's most varied and extensive agglomerations of industrial and facilities maintenance operations. Because of the risk and potential costs associated with these processes and operational activities, DOD has often pioneered or led work to develop and implement standards for varied occupational stressors including noise, ergonomics, heat and cold stress, as well as development of human systems integration as technical discipline. Army Corps of Engineers safety standards (7) and their application by Federal Acquisition Regulations, (8) have created pressure for improved safety in the construction industry.

A project stimulated by a Navy shipyard's efforts to control injuries risks created during submarine recycling stimulated a collaborative project that resulted in enhanced attention to hand arm vibration, but ultimately culminated in a broader effort to improve process management for powered hand tools. (21)

The federal government currently spends almost $1.6 Billion a year on Maintenance, Repair & Operations (MRO) supplies. GSA offers federal agencies a fast and effective way to purchase these strategically sourced supplies at notably discounted prices. MRO Purchase Channel Solution has been established blanket purchase agreements with 10 contractors to sell products under the Maintenance, Repair & Operations (MRO) strategic sourcing solution. Nine (9) of these BFA holders are small businesses. Average pricing is 12 percent (12%) lower than offered previously within the government marketplace. MRO strategic sourcing goals aim to: Offer uniform prices; Measure total cost savings; Report/transactional data; Aid agencies in managing their MRO spend; Reach socio-economic goals; Drive regulatory compliance; and Provide sustainable solutions (REF GSA.GOV).

GSA is working proactively and aggressively to implement the AS 6228 standard and enhance the products offered. (8) Currently, approximately 140 improved (lower vibration/improved ergonomic) tools have added to the Federal stock system, while identifying new product based on customers supply support requests. The author(s) have collaborated with GSA and the Navy Shipyard Ergonomics Community of Practice to communicate needs and help evaluate tools for specific processes. Similar efforts are being extended to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Army Public Health Center.

The range of commodities managed by the Federal supply system offers both (1) the potential for introducing optimal technology and (2) the risk of relative stasis from a large and complexity entity with a high degree of inertia.

Two examples from the Naval Safety Center's liaison office are probably representative. Evaluation of solvent permeability of "rubber gloves" demonstrated that the common stock item was thick rubberized product that provided poor levels of solvent resistance to many commonly used products. Additionally, it was bulky and uncomfortable for many "routine" product uses involving limited contact (versus potential emersion). A common alternative, neoprene gloves, were both more resistant to many solvent materials, thinner (more comfortable and likely to be worn) as well as cheaper ($3/pair versus $11/pair). Addressing the issue of product selection required including materials on glove/personal protective equipment selection for solvent permeability to the qualifying course required for in-service engineers who develop maintenance procedures. In another case, the original manufacture of the outdated shipboard fall protection harness - for which the Navy was the only customer-came forward and helped stimulate an effort to substitute alternative products which were more compliant with current regulations, lower cost and more comfortable.


Further evaluations conducted by independent third parties comparing life-cycle costs, productivity and safety/health costs and risks are needed. However, the general principle of linking product quality, reliability and maintainability with reduced life-cycle costs is well accepted.

Safety and health evaluation of processes using power tools often identify processes inefficiencies. The resultant process improvement often mitigates safety and health and even environmental risk factors while improving productivity.

Discussion of the link between productivity, life-cycle and improved ergonomics included a number of examples and case studies. The most salient was a reliability-based comparison of the five year costs for two rivet guns used in an aircraft production facility based on projected costs related to preventive maintenance and tool repair, productivity and estimated direct costs of tool failure. (24) Comparative data are shown in Table 5. Total five-year projected costs for a $312 tool were in the range of $31,000 while the initially more expensive tool ($1200) had five year costs in the range of $16,000. The evaluation was conducted by a major manufacture of power hand tools in an aircraft production facility. It compared estimated costs and productivity based on experience with a different vendor's rivet gun used in large aircraft production facility and the vendor's product maintained according to manufacturer's guidelines. The tool originally in use was commonly run to failure prior to repair or disposal. However, the comparison estimated costs for both tools maintained according to optimal preventive maintenance criteria. Significantly higher maintenance costs were estimated on this basis ($2557 per year for the higher procurement cost product versus $6007 per year for the lower cost tool). A lower maintenance and/or replacement cost might have been achieved by continuing the practice of run the lower cost tool to failure due to the much lower purchase cost. However, as noted in column three, (of Table 4). the estimated rate of productivity was lower for the product with the lower purchase cost, with estimated labor costs of $59.14 versus $ 23.23 required to create a similar level of output.

The comparison was accepted as plausible by the expert audience composed primarily of competing tool manufactures and vendor's representatives. (Committee 2012) More importantly, the data also convinced the Aerospace Community and aircraft manufacture to switch to the product with higher purchase costs and associated longer life cycle. The study focused on reliability and maintainability. Additional "hidden" fiscal and human costs might be created on the basis of potentially higher levels of vibration and longer periods of exposure, but were not directly evaluated in this study.

Two vibration evaluations conducted by the Naval Medical Center Industrial Hygiene staff in San Diego demonstrated the need for a systems engineering process evaluation and potential to substitute safer and more productive means for antiquated or inefficient processes. (Estrada 2005 August) In one case, the use of a pavement breaker (jackhammer) to remove a parking lot was associated with measured levels of hand-arm vibration which created immediate discomfort and risk to personnel. Initial substitution of alternative equipment reduced transmitted vibration by a factor of sixteen, but still created exposures well in excess of recommended standards. Process substitution via use of a bobcat equipped with a pavement breaker essentially eliminated the segmental vibration exposure while increasing productivity by a factor of ten. (One day versus two weeks would be required to complete a comparable amount of work). Table 6 summarizes the varied exposures and relative process efficiency. In the other case study, a process for paint removal/inspection of small aircraft parts required approximately 3-4 hours of hand grinding to remove the paint. The process created both extreme hand-arm vibration exposures and created dust exposures to paint containing lead and chromium. Process substitution to accomplish the job in a glove box allowed the same task to be accomplished in about 20 minutes and avoided most noise, dust and vibration exposures, while reducing environmental risks associated with dispersion of lead-containing dust.


Development and application of a process standard for the evaluation, procurement and maintenance of powered hand tools developed from initial work focused upon improving safety and health criteria for powered tool procurement. (M. (. Geiger October 26-29, 2009) (Geiger, et al. 2014) (Committee 2012) (SAE International EG1-B1 Commitee 2014) Focused education of safety and health personnel regarding operation of the Federal and Defense acquisition and logistics systems could provide both improvement of specific commodities and overall process improvements and cost savings. The size of the Federal procurement system creates the potential for widespread influence, beyond the immediate scope of DOD procurement. Education of senior management, especially within the occupational health arena, and related process integration of safety and health personnel into process management versus exposure evaluation are recommended

Safety and health factors are often direct indicators of process efficiency (or flaws). Productivity, quality and life-cycle cost reduction are linked directly and indirectly to processes and procurement methodologies that enhance personnel safety and health. The integration of these factors into a process standard for powered hand tool management offers to provide a truly "balanced scorecard" that will optimize application of technology first introduced when Samuel Ingersoll invented the pneumatic drill in 1871 and help control the "modern" industrial risk factors of noise exposure, segmental vibration, ergonomic stressors, as well as physical safety hazards.


[1.] Kurtz J. and Fargo H. P., "Hand and Portable Power Tools, Chapter 20," in Accident Prevention Manual for Business and Industry, Chicago, National Safety Council Press, 2009, pp. 759-802.

[2.] Institute of Medicine, "Hearing Loss Research at NIOSH," National Research Council of the National Academies of Science, Washington, DC Available at, 2006.

[3.] American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, "Industrial Ventilation - a manual of recommended practice," American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists ACGIH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2014.

[4.] ANSI S3.44-1996, "American National Standard for Determining Occupational Noise Exposure and Noise Induced Hearing Loss," American National Standards Institute, New York, NY, 1996.

[5.] National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, The Industrial Environment-Its Evaluation and Control, Cincinnati: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1997.

[6.] US Department of Defense, "DOD Instructions (DODI) 6055.12 Hearing Conservation," Department of Defense, December 2010.

[7.] US Army Corps of Engineers, EM 385-1-1 Safety and Health Requirements (for construction operations), US Army Corps of Engineers, 2013.

[8.] US Department of Labor, "US Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR 1910.95 Occupational Noise Exposure".

[9.] Pelmear P. a. W. D., Hand-Arm Vibration: A Comprehensive Guide for Occupational Health Professionals', 2nd. Edition, Beverly Farms, Mass.: OEM Medical Publishers, 1998.

[10.] Taylor W., Wasserman D., Behrens D. and Samueloff V. a. R. D., "Effect of the Air Hammer on the Hands of Stonecutters, The Limestone Quarries of Bedford, Indiana, Revisited," Brittish Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 41, pp. 289-294, 1984.

[11.] Wasserman D., Taylor W., Behrens V, Samueloff S. and Reynolds D., "Vibration White Finger Disease in U.S. Workders using Pnuematic Chipping an Grinding Hand Tools," Dept of Health and Human Services NIOSH Technical Report, Publication 82-118, Cincinnnati, OH, 1982.

[12.] European Parliment and the Council of the European Union, "Directive 2002/44/EC on Vibration Exposure," European Union- Retrieved from Luxenburg City, 2002.

[13.] European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, "Workplace exposure to vibration in Europe: An expert review.," Retrieved from 2008.

[14.] American National Standards Institute/ASA, "ANSI.ASA S2.70-2006 (R2011)].Guide for the measurement and evaluation of human exposure to vibration transmitted to the hand," American National Standards Institute, New York, New York, 2006 R-2011.

[15.] SAE International EG1-B1 Committee, "Aerospace Standard AS 6228 Safety Requirements for Procurement, Maintenance and," SAE International, Warrendale, PA, USA, Available at, 2014.

[16.] Bernard B. E., "Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors - A critical review of Epidemiological Evidence for Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back," Dept. of Health and Human Services (NIOSH) Pub No 97-141, Cincinnati, OH Accessible 1997.

[17.] Moran M., "Procurement criteria for low-vibration power hand tools.," in Presented to the meting of the DOD Ergonomics Working Group, Aberdeen, MD, USA, February 2006.

[18.] Geiger M., "Geiger, M.B. (2006) Hand-Arm Vibration- Criteria for Tools and Glove Selection Project Proposal submitted to the Defense Safety Oversight Council December 2006," Arlington, VA, USA, 2006.

[19.] O. o. t. S. o. D. (. P. a. Readiness, "Memo to US General Services Administration; Subject: Tool Procurement Criteria to Minimize Risk of Hand Arm Vibration," Arlington, VA, USA, October 31, 2007.

[20.] N. N. J. H. K. e. a. Estrada, "Segmental (hand/arm) vibration as risk factor in systems design and development and support.," in Proceedings of the 23 International System Safety Conference, San Diego, CA, USA, 2005 August.

[21.] M. (. g. b. S. F. U. S. A. Geiger, "Geiger, M.B. (2009) Process management and tool selection to minimize risk of hand-arm vibration syndrome, San Diego, CA," in Presentation to the National Defense Industries Association (NDIA) Systems Engineering Conference, San Diego, CA, USA, October 26-29, 2009.

[22.] Geiger M., Wasserman D., Chervak S. and Henderson C, "Hand-Arm Vibration - Protecting Powered Hand Tool Operators," Journal of Professional Safety, no. November 2014, pp. 34-42, 2014.

[23.] M. a. G. D. Persson, "Tool Comparison for the US Government-Provided to the DOD Defense Safety Oversight Council Hand Arm Vibration Working Group," Atlas Copco, 2011.

[24.] SAE International EG1-B1 Commitee, "Aerospace Standard AS 6228 Safety Requirements for Procurement, Maintenance and Use of Hand-held Powered Tools," SAE International, Warrendale, PA, USA, 2014.

[25.] S. I.-. E. H. T. Committee, "Meeting of January 2012," SAE International, Kansas City, KS, USA, 2012.

Mark Benjamin Geiger

Naval Safety Center Naval Base

John Michael Ster

JMS Aerospace


Mark Geiger, MS, MSE, CIH, CSP Naval Safety Center Liaison Office, 2000 Navy Pentagon, Room 5C256, Washington, DC 20350

John Ster, BSME, MS, JMS Aerospace Engineering and Consulting, 3903 W. 141 st Drive, Leawood KS 66224 (


Contract support funding for the initial DOD/NIOSH/GSA project was made possible through the Defense Safety Oversight Council with the sponsorship of the Acquisition and Technology Task Force. Concurrent Technology Corporation (CTC) staff members including Karen Nelson, Sirena Bustle and Gavin Burdge, provided invaluable support and coordination. Logistic support to help integrate these efforts into supply management was provided by Redmond Handy and Roy Jardin of Robbins Goia and then DRC, Inc. The "volunteer" support of professionals within the DOD occupational safety and health community, NIOSH, GSA, DLA and multiple industry partners made these efforts feasible. Special thanks are due to a number of GSA staff including Michael Moran whose presentation to the DOD Ergonomics Working Group stimulated later project initiation, the late James (Jim) Chaney who coordinated initial GSA links with the DSOC project, his successors Steve Arsenault, Craig Kuznia and Randall Schober all of whom provided leadership for SAE standards development efforts and use of the prototype standard for tool evaluation. The technical leadership and determination of many DOD industrial hygienists and ergonomists including Nancy Estrada, Sandra Benelli, Craig Henderson, Richard Borcicky, Steve Chervak and Pat Crowley is gratefully recognized. The dedication and leadership of Don Wasserman over thirty years of work in evaluation and control HAV merits special recognition. NIOSH contributors and hosts for several meetings include Drs. Ren Dong, Tom McDowell, Christopher Warren and Dan Welcome. Finally the support of SAE staff including Rhonda Joseph, Jordanna Lehman, Maureen Lemankiewicz, Sam Minehart, and Laura Gonnel made development, publication and publicity regarding the AS 6228 standard possible.


Anti-vibration gloves - Gloves meeting ISO 10819 certified, (third-party tested) full finger gloves meet relevant criteria. Vibration attenuation is frequency dependent.

Dose - A term used to express the amount of energy in a unit volume, or an organ or an individual

Dose-response relationship - Relationship between dose and biological effect on a target organ or individual.

Hand arm vibration disease (of occupational origin) -A neurovascular disease associated with intense and prolonged exposure to segmental vibration, typically in association with use of hand-held powered tools.

Noise - Unwanted sound- Most typically considered to be sound exposure above the occupational exposure criteria estimated to protect most individuals from noise-associated hearing loss.


Acquisition Safety - Vibration (Naval Safety Center website section on safety in design and acquisition) (accessed 7-18-2015)

Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors - A critical review of Epidemiological Evidence for Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back, Bernard, BP, ed. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 97-141 (July 1997) 7-18-2015)

English Health and Safety Executive Publications (accessed 7-18-2015)

Occupational Exposure to Hand-arm Vibration-Just the Facts (DE Wasserman 2009) (accessed 7-18-2015)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Power Tools Database NIOSH Power Tool Database that can be used to find such information as sound power levels, sound pressure levels, and downloadable exposure and wave files related to commonly used power tools, (accessed 7-18-2015)

NOISE AND HEARING LOSS PREVENTION - NIOSH webpage on occupational noise exposure and related control measures (accessed 7-18-2015)

Hand Arm Vibration Test Center (Consortium of European tool vendors) provides data on tool vibration (requires free registration) http: // (accessed 7-18-2015)

A Guide to Users of Anti-Vibration Gloves from the DoD Ergonomics Working Group Newsletter of October 2009 (accessed 7-18-2015)

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (accessed 7-18-2015)

Health and Safety Executive Information on HAVS (Hand arm vibration syndrome) (accessed 7-18-2015)

Hand arm vibration; HSE 2009; Advice for Employers - (accessed 7-18-20151

Stop pickin' up bad vibrations; By Mitch Burdick; May 9, 2006 The Fabricator- a publication of the Fabricators and Manufactures Association, (accessed 7-18-2015

Hand-Arm Vibration: Addressing the Hazards. Burdge, G., and Geiger, M.B. The Monitor, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) on-line publication, Sept 2009, Pages, 1, 28-30 ( (Available at for ASSE members).

Vibration Exposure Assessment of Industrial Power Tools- a pocket guide based on the Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive (Directive 2002/44/EC) Atlas Copco

Power Tool Ergonomics- evaluation of power tools (2007) Bo Lindqvuist and Lars Skogsberg; Atlas Copco ISBN 978-91-631-9900-4

Hand and Power Tools OSHA Publication 3080, (Revised 2002) Informational pamphlet U.S. Dept. of Labor (OSHA) (accessed 7-18-2015)

National Agricultural Safety Database Powered Hand Tools (accessed 7-18-2015)

CD - Hand Ann Vibration, Revisited 2012 Naval Safety Center Media Division

(An update of the 1980s NIOSH video on the same subject, but also contains extensive publications in electronic format)

Available at no cost to DOD activities through the Defense Media Activity ( locate via PIN 807012)

For sale to the public through the National Audiovisual Center email or Telephone 800 533-6847).

(*) Basic Control Targets (ANSI S2.70, 2006; European Union Directive, 2002)

(1.) Taken from EU Guide to Good Practice on Hand-Arm Vibration,! Hyperlink reference not valid.)

(2.) Geiger, M.B. (2006) Hand-Arm Vibration- Criteria for Tools and Glove Selection Project Proposal submitted to the Defense Safety Oversight Council December 2006

(3.) Chaney, J Branch Chief and Division Director Ster, JM Heartland Supply Operations Center, GSA FAS, Kansas City, MO

(4.) Bucher, R and Geiger, M.B., (2003) Acquisition Safety (overview of the Defense Acquisition System and Safety and Health Issues with a Focus on Ship Systems)

(5.) SAE International (2012) Meeting of the SAE International EG-1B Hand Tools Committee, Kansas City, MO, January 2012, Committee Chair Ster, JM;

(6.) Persson, M. and Gibson, D. (2011) Tool Comparison for the U.S. Government Presentation provided to the DOD DSOC Hand-arm Vibration Working Group

(7.) Aerospace Standard AS 6228Safery Requirements for Procurement, Maintenance and Use of Hand-held Powered Tools. September 2015

(8.) Suggested contracts are Randall (QSDKCB) Supervisory Environmental Engineer. Phone: (816) 926-2429; Email: Stephen Arsenault (QSDKCA) Supply Systems Analyst Phone: (816) 823-3404 Email: 2300 Mam St., Kansas City, MO 64108-2416 Office Fax:(816)926-1371

Table 1. Powered Hand Tools- Safety, Process Management and Equipment
Selection Factors

Factor or Risk   Health and        Productivity      Potential
                 Safety Impacts    Impacts           Controls

                 Hand-arm          Long-term         Equipment
Vibration        vibration         impact on         selection and
                 disease risk      skilled           maintenance,
                                   workforce         Process
Noise            Hearing loss      Communication     selection
Dust-varied      (silicosis);
respiratory      heavy metal
hazards-         exposures and
                 related disease   Poor visibility   Process
Silica,          (lead,            at point of       selection, use
asbestos and     chromium,         operation,        of wet
many metals      cadmium are       expense and       techniques,
are potentially  the most          time loss for     high-velocity-
associated       prevalent).       poor control      low volume
with long-       Silica and        measures          local exhaust*
term disabling   some heavy
occupational     metals are
disease          known or
Ergonomic        Discomfort;
stressors        Long-term         Direct link       Equipment
related to       repetitive        between
design of        motion disease    comfort and       selection and
workplace and    potential         productivity      process design
Physical         Potential
                                   Productivity      Equipment
safety           injuries,
hazards/         especially        impacts of        selection and
controls         acute trauma      work-around       maintenance
                                                     Use of UL or
                                   Disruption of     other third-
                                                     party tested
Electrical       Shock and         process,          tools; use of
safety hazards   acute             potentially fire  double
                 injury/burn       and physical      insulation or
                                   damage            ground fault
                                                     Process and
                 Low-cost tools    Decreased         equipment
Life-cycle                                           selection to
costs            are likely to be  productivity      optimize
(replacement/    noisier, and      and quality       products
                 less              (Cheap tools
repair)          "ergonomic"       are expensive)    purchased.

Table 2. Physical Risk Factors Ergonomics Checklist (*)

Risk Factor               Risks/Remarks (Many risks are
                          increased by task duration) (**)

Working with or raising   May impair blood flow arms due to
hand(s) above head or
elbows above shoulders    elevated position
Working with neck bent
(without support and      Stress on soft tissues, decreased
without the ability to    productivity due to increased
vary posture              discomfort and greater rest cycle
Working with the back
bent forward (without     Stress on soft tissues, decreased
support and without the   productivity due to increased
ability to vary posture)  discomfort and greater rest cycle
                          Stress on knees and ultimately soft
Squatting                 tissue damage (chronic knee
                          Stress on knees and ultimately soft
Kneeling                  tissue damage (chronic knee
Pinching an               Carpal tunnel syndrome and other
unsupported object(s)     overuse syndromes
Gripping an
unsupported objects(s)    Overuse syndromes, fatigue, reduced
weighing 10 or more       productivity due to increase rest cycle
pounds per hand
Repeating the same
motion with the neck,     Overuse syndromes, fatigue, reduced
shoulders, elbows,        productivity. Wrist and joint issues
wrists, or hands          may include tendonitis and/or carpal
(excluding keying         tunnel syndrome (**)
Using the hand
(heel/base of palm) or    Soft tissue injuries
knee as a hammer
                          Back injuries both acute and chronic
Heavy, frequent or        damage to soft tissues. Criteria
                          depends on weight and frequency
awkward lifting           refer to ACGIH guidelines, ref 5, or
                          Mil Std 1472

(*) Developed by the Army Public Health Command, extracted from the
Navy Shore Safety Manual OPNAVINST 5100.23 Chapter 23 Navy Ergonomics
Program and available at https://navalforms.documentservices.dla.mi
(**) A "caution level" of two hours/day is shown for most tasks. Risk
is increased by non-neutral postures such as wrist deviation. In the
case of back and neck deviation the risk factor includes deviation >
30 degrees.

Table 3. Probable Noise Levels of Common Construction Tools (*)

Tool           Noise Level will  Reference cited in
               probably exceed   ANSI/ASSEA10.46-
               (dBA scale)       2007

Air Gun             108          CDC 2005
Air Hammer          110          Bragdon(1971)
Asphalt             111          Greenspan et al (1995)
Brick saw            94          Burgess and Lai
Chipper,            100          Hassel(1979),
pneumatic                        Olishifski (1975)
Concrete saw         98          CDC (2005)
Electric             98          NZ DOSH (2002)
Jackhammer          102          CDC (2005)
Nail gun             97          NZ DOSH (2002)
Reciprocating        86          NIOSH (2005)

(*) ANSI/ASSE A10.46-2007 Hearing Loss Prevention for Construction and
Demolition Workers, Appendix 2 (Representative tools are selected from
a longer list)

Table 4. Factors Used in Power Tool Evaluation (*)

Evaluation       Relative   Notes
Factor           Weighting

Productivity       20%      May include cycle time; amount
                            of material removed, time to
                            accomplish a particular amount of
Noise              10%      Depends on relative contribution
                            of noise as a risk factor.
Hand-arm           20%      Depends on relative contribution
vibration                   as a risk factor. For example:
                            5% of the evaluation based on
                            vibration levels if < 2.5%.
                            10% if tools operate in the range
                            of > 5.0 m/[s.sup.2]
                            15% if tools > 10 m/[s.sup.2] and used
                            >2 hours/day
Ergonomic          20%      Guidance from Atlas Copco
factors other               Guide to Power Hand tool
than shock and              Ergonomics and associated
vibration                   references.
Initial             5%      May depend on anticipated life-
procurement                 span of tool and intensity of use
cost                        (for example, occasional;
                            periodic; daily).
Life cycle cost    15%      Includes maintenance - parts and
                            labor- and potentially
                            consumables and utilities

(*) AS 6228 Safety Requirements for Procurement, Maintenance and Use of
Hand-held Powered Tools-

Table 5. Comparison of Projected Life-Cycle Costs for Two Rivet Hammers

                        RRH 04-12 TS,  Brand C, Rivet
Tool Type               Rivet Hammer   Hammer

Purchase Price
Estimate                 $1,179.35        $312.03
Operator labor costs
(rivet time only)           $23.23         $59.14
Maintenance Repair
Parts Costs             S 1,340.97     $ 3,479.60
Total Maintenance
Costs (Reflects         $ 2,557.40     $ 6,006.78
Warranty Costs Savings
for New Tools)
Yearly cost             $ 3,149.99     $ 6,462.45
Five year cost          $15,749.93     $32,312.26

Table 6. Process Selection Issues- Before and After Pavement Breaker
Substitution (ref 20)

Work method     Initial                Alternative
                Pavement               Bobcat
                breaker (jack          equipped with
                hammer)                pavement

Tool            Hand-arm               Hand-arm
type/brand      Vibration              Vibration
                exposure (re 5         exposure (re 5
                m/[s.sup.2] criteria)  m/[s.sup.2] criteria)
Chicago         382 (m/[s.sup.2])      -

Chicago (anti-  277 (m/[s.sup.2])      --
Atlas Copco
(anti-          18.9 (m/[s.sup.2])     --
Bobcat - with                          -Nil-
Man-hours       80                     8
Labor cost      $2000                  $200

Work method     Notes

Tool            5 m/[s.sup.2] criteria

Chicago         Initial efforts
(standard)      to select better
Chicago (anti-  Slightly better
Atlas Copco     Much better
(anti-          but >> 5 m/[s.sup.2]
Bobcat - with   Final control
pavement        by process
breaker         change
Labor cost
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Author:Geiger, Mark Benjamin; Ster, John Michael
Publication:SAE International Journal of Materials and Manufacturing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2016
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