Improved hand function (dexterity) tests are needed to better discriminate material and design differences in gloves that also limit the impact of human subject coordination on results. In this investigation, three specific tests were evaluated to determine their capability for measuring hand function as compared to subjective measurements made by study test subjects. Tests evaluated in the investigation included a modified pin pickup test based on European Norm 420, a modified pegboard test, and a two-point discriminator test. A series of seven different gloves, representing products used in hazardous materials and fire fighting applications were chosen for evaluation by five different test subjects. Detailed procedures were created to ensure consistent measurement of hand function.
Test data were analyzed by comparing the measured hand function for the particular test to the average subjective ranking. From this analysis, the best correlation was demonstrated for the modified pegboard test that provided an overall correlation factor of 0.83 (based on a log function relation). Slightly poorer correlation was found for the modified pin pick-up test (at 0.74), while the two-point dicriminator test showed relatively poor correlation (0.56). Analysis of the modified pegboard test was also able to show discrimination (based on 95% confidence) between the majority of the glove types evaluated. As a result of this investigation, the modified pegboard test was proposed as a performance test in the evaluation of both hazardous materials response and fire fighting protective gloves.