System developers may find the following information helpful. It contains information about the assessment methods used by the USAIPH Ergonomics Program when performing a Health Hazard Assessment. Our staff performs Health Hazard Assessments to support the USAIPH Health Hazard Assessment Program and to help identify exposures from products developed for or used by US Army personnel that could lead to musculoskeletal injury. The purpose of this assessment is to mitigate risks while products are being designed and developed in order to protect the health of US Army users.
Our program currently assesses risks related to exposures to mechanical stress from lifting, carrying and interacting with equipment. We also assess the health risks from occupational exposures to blast overpressure from firing weapons, and we assess hand-arm vibration and whole body vibration from using tools and vehicles.
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Hand Arm Vibration
Whole Body Vibration
- When weapons fire they emit a blastwave that produces noise and a change in ambient air pressure. If the blastwave is sufficiently intense or occurs frequently it may damage the auditory system and impair hearing. Or, it may damage internal, principally air-containing organs such as the lung, and produce more severe effects. APHC analyses blast overpressure injury risk using a software application developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
Hand Arm Vibration - The use of powered hand tools causes mechanical energy in the form of vibration to propagate to the user's hand and arm. This vibration, known as Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV), can affect the health and readiness of soldiers and workers. The relevant literature on the effects of long-term high-intensity HAV indicates an increased prevalence to occupational illnesses such as Raynaud's syndrome. The USAIPH Ergonomics Program assesses the injury risk associated with exposure to HAV. Through vibration analysis, the severity and probability of injury for crew positions can be assessed and a Risk Assessment Code (RAC) assigned.
Whole Body Vibration - Vehicle movement causes mechanical energy in the form of vibration to propagate the vehicle's structure. In turn, the vibration of the vehicle is transmitted to the occupants through various contact points such as the seat and floor. This vibration, known as Whole-Body Vibration (WBV), can affect the health and readiness of the soldiers. The relevant literature of the effects of long-term high-intensity WBV indicates an increased health risk to the lumbar spine and the connected nervous system of the segments affected. The USAIPH Ergonomics Program assesses the injury risk associated with exposure to WBV. Through use of a program called JOLT, the severity and probability of injury for crew positions can be assessed and a Risk Assessment Code (RAC) assigned. System developers involved in designing or conducting WBV tests may obtain the most recent guidance describing formatting of test data by contacting the Health Hazard Assessment Program.
The assessment methodologies used for Health Hazard Assessment can also be applied to other physical activities that are encountered while performing tasks at work.
System developers may find the following information pages helpful. They contain information about the assessment methods used by the USAIPH Ergonomics Program for Health Hazard Assessment.
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