Mining Publication: Heavy Construction Equipment Noise Study Using Dosimetry and Time-Motion Studies
Noise induced hearing loss continues to afflict workers in many occupational settings despite longstanding recognition of the problems and well-known methods of prevention and regulations. Sound levels associated with heavy construction equipment range from 80 to 120 dB(A) and power tools commonly used in construction produce sound levels up to 115 dB(A). The focus of this research was to determine the noise exposures of heavy construction equipment operators while documenting the workers' tasks, (i.e. hauling, moving, and/or pushing construction material). Time-motion studies were performed at the construction sites and were used to correlate the noise dosage with the work performed by equipment operators. The cumulative dose for the operator was then plotted with references to work tasks, to identify the tasks that caused the greatest noise exposure. Three construction sites were studied for this research located in the western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio areas. The types of construction equipment studied included asphalt pavers, backhoes, bulldozers, compaction equipment, excavators, haul trucks, telehandlers, and wheeled loaders. The results showed that bulldozer operators consistently had the highest noise exposures, ranging from a NIOSH REL (Recommended Exposure Limit) dose of 844% to 25,836% and an OSHA PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) dose of 139% to 1,397%.