Workers who are exposed to foot-transmitted vibration (FTV) can develop vibration induced white-feet (VIWFt) which is associated with vascular and neurological problems in the feet. In an effort to address VIWFt, some workplaces have started to use personal protective equipment (PPE). However, research to verify the effectiveness of PPE for FTV reduction is limited. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of several combinations of mats, boots and insoles for attenuation of FTV. A laboratory study was conducted using a multi-axis robotic platform to evaluate three mat conditions, three boots and four insole conditions at dominant FTV exposure frequencies of 3, 30 and 40Hz. It was found that all combinations were able to attenuate vibration below the baseline for 30 and 40Hz. No combinations were found to attenuate FTV better than the baseline for 3Hz. In a second study, workers also evaluated the comfort and usability of several combinations of mats, boots, and insoles in the field. Many of the workers liked the PPE that was provided to them and would recommend the PPE to coworkers. This research will allow industry and manufacturers to further develop mats, boots and insoles that protect workers from FTV.
Keywords: foot-transmitted vibration, vibration induced white-feet, vibration induced whitetoes, occupational vibration, mining