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Task-based assessment of occupational vibration and noise exposures in forestry workers.

Neitzel-R; Yost-M
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 2002 Sep/Oct; 63(5):617-627
Forty-two noise exposures and 164 whole-body (WBV) and hand-arm (HAV) vibration exposures were collected from 43 forestry workers in six trades employed by two forestry companies. Data were collected on 10 days over 8 weeks during various felling, logging, and log handling operations. Up to 5 volunteers were monitored for noise and vibration daily using datalogging noise dosimeters, which provided daily time-weighted averages (TWAs) and 1-min averages; and a precision sound level meter equipped to measure human vibration, which provided triaxial HAV and WBV event-weighted averages (AEQS). Workers completed a short questionnaire throughout the workday detailing the timing and number of tasks performed and equipment used. Substantial overexposures to noise and vibration were seen; for example, 60% of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) TWAs and 83% of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) noise TWAs exceeded 85 dBA, 33-53% of the axis-specific HAV AEQS exceeded the 8-hour American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' HAV threshold limit value, and 34% of all summary weighted WBV AEQS exceeded the Commission of the European Communities' 8-hour exposure limit. The mean for 99 WBV summary weighted AEQ was 3.53 +/- 7.12 m/sec2, whereas the mean for 65 HAV summary weighted AEQ was 5.45 +/- 5.25 m/sec2. The mean OSHA TWA was 86.1 +/- 6.2 dBA, whereas the mean NIOSH TWA was 90.2 +/- 5.1 dBA. The task and tool with the highest exposure levels were unbelling chokers on landings and chain saws (noise), log processing and frontend loaders (WBV), and notching stumps and chain saws (HAV). An internal validation substudy indicated excellent agreement between worker-reported and researcher-documented tasks and tools
Exposure-assessment; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Hand-protection; Vibration-exposure; Vibration-pickups; Forestry-workers; Noise-analysis; Noise-control; Noise-exposure; Noise-levels; Equipment-operators; Author Keywords: exposure assessment; forestry; hand-arm vibration; occupational noise; whole-body vibration
Department of Environmental Health, Box 354695, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-4695
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Neurotoxic Disorders; Neurotoxic-effects
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Performing Organization
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington