The number of most common occupational disease will be reduced with low vibrating machines
2 January, 2018
Injuries caused by vibrations is the most common cause of occupational disease in Sweden today. But machines do not have to vibrate and injure people. In a research project which was recently granted by Vinnova in the “Challenge driven Innovation” programme, new design solutions are being further developed with the goal that there will be a demand for low vibrating hand held machines and that these will be supplied on the market in a few years.
More than 400 000 people work more than two hours a day with machines that vibrate. The injuries caused by the machines not only lead to great personal suffering for the individual, but also to considerable costs for society and companies. Often it is young people that are affected and get lifelong injuries. Typical symptoms are “white fingers”, hands go numb and impaired feeling and motor function.
– Injuries caused by vibrations not only affect machine users in industry and in workshops. Dentists and dental technicians are other professions that also have problems with injuries caused by vibrations, says Lars Gerhardsson, professor and senior physician at Sahlgrenska Academy, who specializes in vibration injuries.
By attending to the problem at source, the vibration levels in handheld machines can be reduced dramatically. Vinnova has granted SEK 15 million to a research project with the vision of “Zero vibration injuries”.
– In previous steps of the project we have developed a number of machine prototypes and shown that the vibrations can be removed, says Hans Lindell, a researcher at Swerea IVF who specializes in vibrations. The prototypes represent a large part of the vibrating machines that are used in work places today.
The project will now move from a few low vibrating concept prototypes to clean vibration demonstration environments at manufacturing companies. The focus is on making it possible for the machine users to put requirements, assess and to purchase low vibrating machines. The goal is to further develop the prototypes so that the new technology can be used during mass production and sold on an international market. The demand for low vibrating machines will also be increased by increasing the awareness of the dangers of vibrations.
The research project Zero vibration injuries step 3, additional investment, is project managed by Swerea IVF and consists of 24 parties, ranging from end users to machine manufacturers and researchers in technology as well as medicine. Furthermore, there is a reference group where e.g. the Swedish work environment authority, representatives of the labour market and occupational health service providers are included.
Atlas Copco Industrial Technique, Betonghåltagning i Göteborg, Benders Sverige, Bilia personbilar, Chalmers university of Technology, Chicago Pneumatic Georges Renault, Finnvedens Lastvagnar, University of Gothenburg (Sahlgrenska Academy), Höganäs Sweden, Lunds University (the faculty of medicine), Malmö University (the faculty of odontology – Tandvårdshögskolan), Naturstenskompaniet Sverige, NCC Sverige, RISE Acreo, RISE SP, SETEK Elektronik, Skanska Maskin, Skanska Rental, SVIMPEX Granit, SWEPAC, Swerea IVF, Umeå University (Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine), Volvo Construction Equipment, Xylem Water Solutions Manufacturing.