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Three Independent Studies in Glasgow, December 2018

Presented at Glasgow Meeting of Orthopaedic Research 22nd March 2019

 

 

NOISE EXPOSURE AMONGST PLASTER ROOM WORKERS – A COMPARATIVE STUDY

F.Mahmood, V.Wilson, D.Ross, K.Hill & D.MacDonald

Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, G51 4TF

 

Introduction: Excessive levels or prolonged exposure to noise in occupational settings is responsible for a significant proportion of hearing loss.  Power tools are a recognised cause for occupational noise exposure and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) places limits on both peak and mean noise exposure. The plaster room is typically a noisy environment, due to use of plaster saws.

 

Aims: The purpose of this study was to compare the amount of potentially harmful noise produced when using a traditional plaster saw compared to a novel plaster cutting shear (Casterpillar) tool.

 

Methods: Noise (dB) was measured using a sound level meter placed at the operator’s head position whilst cutting standardised casts made from either fibreglass or plaster of Paris (POP) cast using both a traditional plaster saw and the Casterpillar device. Mean daily exposure and peak noise levels, assuming 20 minutes of use per day, were calculated.

Results: Mean noise levels across all hearing frequencies were significantly (p<0.001) lower whilst using Casterpillar (70.1dB, SD 9.4) compared to the traditional tool (83.8dB, SD 12.3). Neither tool exceeded the peak noise level determined by the HSE, however the plaster saw exceeded the lower limit set by the HSE of 80dB when compared with the Casterpillar (82.6dB vs 71.0dB).

 

Conclusion: The Casterpillar produces significantly lower noise exposure when compared to a traditional plaster saw. Use of a traditional plaster saw produces noise exposure requiring hearing protection to be made available to practitioners. Further study is required to determine the mean usage time of plaster saws by plaster room technicians.

 

 

 

DUST EXPOSURE AMONGST PLASTER ROOM WORKERS – A COMPARATIVE STUDY

V.Wilson, F.Mahmood, D.Ross, K.Hill & D.MacDonald

Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, G51 4TF

 

Introduction: Occupational exposure to dust can cause hazardous health problems including breathing problems, gastrointestinal irritation, eye damage and skin irritation. Power tools are a recognised cause for producing occupational dust and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) places limits on workplace dust exposure. Dust generated by the process of cast removal is a potential hazard to those in frequent contact, such as workers in the plaster room.

 

Aims: The purpose of this study was to compare the concentration of dust produced when using a traditional plaster saw compared to a novel plaster cutting shear (Casterpillar) tool.

 

Methods: Concentration (mg/m³) of dust particles was measured using an IOM sampling head placed at the operator’s head position whilst cutting standardised casts made from either fibreglass or plaster of Paris (POP) cast using both a traditional plaster saw and the Casterpillar device. Resultant exposure levels of inhalable and respirable dust, assuming 20 minutes of use per day, were calculated.

 

Results: Exposure levels of dust were lower with the use of the Casterpillar vs traditional plaster saw for both inhalable (0.29 mg/m³ vs 1.25 mg/m³) and respirable (0.01 mg/m³ vs 0.06 mg/m³) dust particles.

 

Conclusion: The Casterpillar produces lower levels of dust exposure compared to traditional plaster saws. Further study is required to determine the mean usage time of plaster saws by plaster room technicians.

 

 

USE OF NOVEL AUTOMATED PLASTER SHEARS (CASTERPILLAR) TO REDUCE HAND ARM TRANSMITTED VIBRATION AMONGST ORTHOPAEDIC PRACTITIONERS

V.Wilson, F.Mahmood, D.Ross, K.Hill & D.MacDonald

Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, G51 4TF

 

 

Introduction: Orthopaedic surgeons and plaster room technicians routinely use vibrating plaster saws. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggest that vibration should be treated much like radiation, in that exposure should be limited to as low as reasonably possible, to minimise the risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).  

Aim: The purpose of this study was to compare the level of hand arm transmitted vibration between a hand held plaster saw and a novel powered shear designed to cut plaster (Casterpillar).

Methods: Fibreglass and plaster of Paris (POP) casts were prepared as per BOA Casting Standards. Measurements were undertaken by a Health and Safety Consultant using a 3-axis accelerometer attached to each tool. Cuts in both types of cast were undertaken by three orthopaedic surgeons using each device for a minimum of 60 seconds.

 

Results: The Casterpillar tool produced less vibration than the traditional tool for both fibreglass (0.8Wh, SD 0.06 vs 7.7Wh, SD 0.15, p<0.01) and POP (1.0Wh, SD 0.05 vs 7.4Wh, SD 0.15, p<0.001) casts. Whilst use of a plaster saw for a period of more than 54 minutes per working day would require health surveillance based on HSE guidelines, it was not possible to reach this limit during a working day using the Casterpillar.

Conclusion: The Casterpillar produces significantly less vibration compared to a traditional plaster saw and is a viable alternative tool for plaster room staff at risk of HAVS. Further investigation is necessary to determine whether such staff breach vibration guidelines in using traditional plaster saws. 

Noise abstract submission-1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [181.3 KB]
Dust abstract submission-1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [177.5 KB]
HAVs abstract submission-1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [160.3 KB]
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