Repository hosted by TU Delft Library

Home · Contact · About · Disclaimer ·

Manual performance deterioration in the cold estimated using the wind chill equivalent temperature

Author: Daanen, H.A.M.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Industrial health, 47, 262-270
Identifier: 90056
doi: doi:10.2486/indhealth.47.262
Keywords: Health · Dexterity · Cold · Manual performance · Wind-chill


Manual performance during work in cold and windy climates is severely hampered by decreased dexterity, but valid dexterity decrease predictors based on climatic factors are scarce. Therefore, this study investigated the decrease in finger- and hand dexterity and grip force for nine combinations of ambient temperature (-20, -10 and 0°C) and wind speeds (0.2, 4 and 8 m-s2), controlled in a climatic chamber. Finger dexterity was determined by the Purdue pegboard test, hand dexterity by the Minnesota manual dexterity test and grip force by a hand dynamometer. Twelve subjects with average to low fat percentage were exposed to cold air for one hour with and without extra insulation by a parka. The subjects were clothed in standard work clothing of the Royal Netherlands Air Force for cold conditions. Extra insulation did affect cold sensation but not manual performance. The deterioration in manual performance appeared to be strongly dependent upon Wind Chill Equivalent Temperature (WCET) and the square root of exposure time (r=0.93 for group average). These simple models may be valuable to assess problems with work in the cold, but more work should be done to determine critical values in dexterity for a wide variety of operational tasks.