Hand-skin temperature and tracking performance

Ravindra S. Goonetilleke, Errol R. Hoffmann

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    26 Scopus citations


    Even though manual tracking performance has been extensively investigated, there is little or no research related to the lower limit of temperature for unimpaired tracking performance. This study sought to obtain temperature limits while investigating the effect of hand-skin temperature on manual tracking. Eighteen subjects participated in a within-subject design experiment. The hand-skin temperatures corresponded to bath temperatures of 10, 20 and 30 °C. Tracking performance was measured using the Drury [1971. Movements with lateral constraint. Ergonomics 14(2), 293-305] task of drawing between two continuous straight lines of length 200 mm and widths 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 4 mm. Performance measures were the time to draw the line and the number of errors as determined by the cross-over points of the drawn line with the printed lines. Both performance measures were consistent and showed significant effects (p<.05) of line spacing and hand-skin temperature. Performance with bath temperatures of 10 °C was significantly worse than that with bath temperatures of 20 and 30 °C. Relevance to Industry: Workers are exposed to cold temperatures in numerous ways. Even though personal protective equipment can be used to minimize cold exposure, in tasks such as hand/arm tracking, performance decrements can be quite significant when wearing gloves or other protective equipment. Hence, it is important to identify the cold-limiting temperatures and task characteristics beyond which identifiable decrements of performance exist so that appropriate tasks can be designed for individuals, depending on the existing temperatures.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)590-595
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jul 2009


    • Cold stress
    • Dexterity
    • Hand cooling
    • Hand-skin temperature
    • Thermal sensation
    • Tracking
    • Tremor


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