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Title: Temperature limit values for touching cold surfaces with the fingertip
Authors: Geng, Q.
Holmer, Ingvar
den Hartog, Emiel A.
Havenith, George
Jay, Ollie E.
Malchaire, J.
Piette, A.
Rintamaki, Hannu
Rissanen, S.
Keywords: Cold surfaces
Contact temperature
Finger touching
Machine safety
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: © The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society
Citation: GENG, G. ... et al (2006). Temperature limit values for touching cold surfaces with the fingertip. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 50 (8), pp. 851-862.
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: At the request of the European Commission and in the framework of the European Machinery Directive, research was performed in five different laboratories to develop specifications for surface temperature limit values for the short-term accidental touching of the fingertip with cold surfaces. METHODS: Data was collected in four laboratories with a total of twenty males and twenty females performing a grand total of 1655 exposures. Each touched polished blocks of aluminium, stainless steel, nylon-6 and wood using the distal phalanx of the index finger with a contact force of 1.0, 2.9 and 9.8 N, at surface temperatures from +2 and -40ºC for a maximum duration of 120 seconds. Conditions were selected in order to elicit varying rates of skin cooling upon contact. Contact temperature (TC) of the fingertip was measured over time using a T-type thermocouple. RESULTS: A database obtained from the experiments was collated and analysed to characterise fingertip contact cooling across a range of materials and surface temperatures. The database was subsequently used to develop a predictive model to describe the contact duration required for skin contact temperature to reach the physiological criteria of onset of pain (15ºC), onset of numbness (7ºC) and onset of frostbite risk (0ºC). CONCLUSIONS: The data reflect the strong link between the risk of skin damage and the thermal properties of the material touched. For aluminium and steel, skin temperatures of 0ºC occurs within 2 to 6 s at surface temperatures of -15ºC. For nonmetallic surfaces, onset of numbness occurs within 15 to 65 s of contact at -35ºC and onset of cold pain occurs within 5 s of contact at -20ºC. The predictive model subsequently developed was a non-linear exponential expression also reflecting the effects of material thermal properties and those of the materials initial temperature. This model provides information for the protection of workers against the risk of cold injury by establishing the temperature limits of cold touchable surfaces for a broad range of materials, and is now proposed as guidance values in a new international standard (ISO/DIS 13732-3, 2005).
Description: This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Annals of Occupational Hygiene following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [GENG, G. ... et al (2006). Temperature limit values for touching cold surfaces with the fingertip. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 50 (8), pp. 851-862] is available online at: http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/50/8/851
DOI: 10.1093/annhyg/mel030
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/2548
ISSN: 0003-4878
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Design School)

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