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Noise at Work

By
Mark Cooper

28
th
February 2006
HSE Research suggests that over 170,000
people in the UK suffer either hearing loss
or tinnitus through excessive exposure to
noise at work





and this suffering is preventable
We will look at
How we hear
Damage caused by noise
Hearing protection the total solution?
Introducing noise legislation
The new Control of Noise at Work
Regulations 2005
Aspects of noise nuisance
Damage to the sensory cells
The concept of a noise dose
Hearing damage is related to the Noise
Dose, which is a combination of the TIME
and LEVEL of exposure
Some dose equivalents
The following noise levels and exposure
times are equivalent to a dose of 80 dB for
8 hours:
Equivalents to 80 dB for 8 hours:
Road breaker @ 89 dB for 1 hr
Concrete crusher @ 92 dB for 30 minutes
Hammer drill @ 101 dB for 4 minutes
Fettling chisel @ 110 dB for 30 seconds!
The new Noise at Work
Regulations 2005
Due to Physical Agents (Noise) Directive
(2003/10/EC)
Replace Noise at Work Regulations 1989
Come in to force on 6
th
April 2006
Delayed introduction for places of music &
entertainment until 6
th
April 2008
The new Noise at Work
Regulations 2005
Noise level - terminology
Noise levels in the Regulations are
expressed either as:

8 hr noise dose equivalents L
EP,d

Peak noise level
Peak noise
What is peak noise?
How is peak noise assessed?
2nd Action Level: Peak (C)
Expressed as 200Pa in the Regulations.
Duties as for the 90dB(A) L
EP,d
2nd Action
Level.

Exposure Limit Value: Peak (C)
The Noise Exposure of any employee, including
the use of hearing protection, must be below
140dB Peak (C)


2nd Action Level: 90dB(A) L
EP,d

Noise Hazard Zone must be clearly
marked.
PPE must be worn at all times.
The noise exposure must be reduced as
far as possible by means other than the
use of PPE

Lower Exposure Action Value : 135 dB(C)
Peak
Duties as for the 80 dB(A) L
EP,d
Lower Exposure
Action Value


1st Action Level: 85 dB(A) L
EP,d

All employees at risk must be identified.
Noise warning signs must be clearly
displayed.
Noise assessment to be reviewed when
changes are made.
Employees informed of the risk of hearing
damage.
A choice of suitable PPE made available
on request.
Upper Exposure Action Value: 85 dB(A) L
EP,d

Duties as for the 2nd Action Level under the
existing regulations, plus workers have the right
to hearing checks where the noise assessments
indicate a risk of hearing damage.

Lower Exposure Action Value: 80dB(A) L
EP,d

Duties as for the 1st Action Level under the
existing regulations
Exposure Limit Value: 87dB(A) L
EP,d

The Noise Exposure of any employee, including
the use of hearing protection, must be below
87dB(A) L
EP,d


135
140
90
87
85
80
Upper Exposure Action Value : 137 dB(C)
Peak. Duties as for the 85 dB(A) L
EP,d
2
nd
Action
Level


137
Implications of new regulations
A lot more workplaces will come within the
action levels
Audiometry will have to be conducted on
many more workers
Employers will have to look for more ways
to control noise at source rather than
simply relying on ear protection
Noise Exposure equivalent levels
Sound Level
dB(A)
Exposure Equivalent to
90 dB(A) LEP,d
90 8 hours
93 4 hours
96 2 hours
99 1 hour
102 30 minutes
105 15 minutes
108 7.5 minutes
Noise Measuring Equipment
Categories of equipment
Type 0 laboratory grade
Type 1 Highest field grade
Type 2 Lowest field grade
Type 1 or 2 normally used for noise at work
measurements
Equipment may be hand-held sound level meter (SLM)
or dose meter
Equipment should be calibrated before and after each
reading and periodically under laboratory conditions
Noise measuring equipment
Hand-held SLM vs Dose meter
Why is the hand-held method preferable?
Noise measuring equipment
Calculating protection from hearing
protection
Octave band method
Most accurate, but requires octave band data
Most complicated calculation
HML (High, Medium, Low) method
Simple calculation, only requires A-weighted and C-
weighted Leq levels
Preferred method in most circumstances
SNR (Single Number Rating) method
Only needs C-weighted Leq levels
HSE calculator
any questions?
The Management of Hand-Arm
Vibration
HSE/Medical Research Council
4.8 million people in
UK regularly exposed
to HAV

Includes 1.2 million
working above HSEs
current recommended
action level
300,000 people may have cold-induced
finger blanching (VWF) due to exposure to
vibration
Most common prescribed industrial
disease in the UK with about 3000 new
disablement benefit cases each year to
Department of Work & Pensions

HSE/Medical Research Council
Civil Action for HAVS
Examples of compensation cases:
200,000 award to a tree surgeon
employed by Liverpool CC (1998)
143,000 award to British Gas fitter: total
of 430,000 to six fitters (1998)

Compare this to the average 6000
compensation award for noise induced
hearing loss
Hand arm vibration - effects
HAVS (Hand arm vibration syndrome)
Effects:
Vascular
Neurological
musculoskeletal
HAVS Symptoms
Vascular (Vibration White Finger, VWF)
Finger blanching (nb. Although vibration
causes the condition, this symptom is
precipitated by cold, not vibration)
Painful red throbbing on re-warming
Permanent discolouration of the fingers after
many years exposure
Similar symptoms may occur endogenously,
i.e. primary Raynauds Syndrome
Trophic finger blanching
Neurological component
Tingling
Numbness
Loss of sensation
Loss of manual dexterity
Painful parasthesiae at night

HAVS Symptoms
Muscular & soft tissue component
Muscle fatigue & loss of grip strength
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Skeletal component
Disorders of the bones (cysts & vacuoles)
Joint disorders of the upper arm
HAVS Symptoms
Classification of symptoms
Stockholm Workshop Scales
The preferred system in determining damage
claims
HAVS Symptoms
Stockholm Workshop Scales
Vascular component
Stage Grade Description
0
No attacks
1V Mild
Occasional attacks affecting only the
tips of one or more fingers
2V Moderate

Occasional attacks affecting distal
and middle phalanges of one or
more fingers
3V Severe
Frequent attacks affecting all
phalanges of most fingers
4V Very severe
As in Stage 3 with trophic changes
in the fingertips
Stockholm Workshop Scales
Sensorineural component
Stage Description
0SN
Vibration-exposed, but no symptoms
1SN
Intermittent numbness, with or without tingling
2SN
Intermittent or persistent numbness, reduced sensory perception
3SN
Intermittent or persistent numbness, reduced tactile discrimination
and/or manipulative dexterity
What jobs are prone to cause HAVS?
Construction (esp. roads
& railways)
Working with concrete
products
Forestry
Foundries
Heavy engineering
Mines & quarries
Plate & sheet metal
fabrication
Public utility workers
Examples of tools that can cause
excessive hand arm vibration doses
Rotary tools e.g.
Chainsaws
Hand-held grinders &
sanders
Lawnmowers
Strimmers
Percussive tools, e.g.
Breakers, road drills
Hammer drills
Power hammers and
chisels
Riveting hammers &
bolsters
Needle guns
Factors which increase risks of HAVS
Poor circulation
Working in
cold conditions
Smoking
Sensitivity of hand to vibration
2 4 6 8 10 16 32 64 125 250 500 1K
1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
Frequency (Hz)
Relative
sensitivity
Sensitivity of hand to vibration
Vibration Dose - A8
HAVS damage is dose-related
The A8 is defines daily vibration exposure
as the 8-hr energy equivalent frequency-
weighted rms acceleration (analogous to the
L
EP,d
for noise exposure)

Daily vibration exposure, A(8)
A(8) = a
hv
T
T
0
Where a
hv
is an rms value representative of the measured
vibration magnitude,
T is the total daily exposure duration, and
T
0
is the reference duration of 8 hours (28800 seconds)
Control of Vibration at Work
Regulations 2005
Sets two levels for hand-arm vibration

Exposure Action Value of 2.5ms
-2
A8

Exposure Limit Value of 5ms
-2
A8
Vibration Regulations requirements
Reduce vibration risk and exposure to a
minimum
Assess risk and exposure levels
When EAV is exceeded, plan and implement
programme of measures to reduce exposure
When EAV is exceeded, provide appropriate
health surveillance
Keep exposure below ELV
Provide information and training for vibration-
exposed employees
Transitional arrangements
The Regulations allow transitional period
of up to 5 years for meeting ELV levels (up
to 9 years for agriculture and forestry)
Applies only to equipment supplied before
2007
No transitional period in respect of EAV,
but does allow time to implement changes
in the longer term
Establishing a
hv
the vibration total value
BS EN ISO 5249 -1
Vibration Total Value
a
hv
= a
2
+ a
2
+ a
2
hwx hwy hwz
Where a
hwx,
a
hwy
and a
hwz
are the measured weighted rms
vibration magnitudes of each axis

Assessment & control first steps
To measure, or not to
measure, that is the question
Assessment of exposure
Assessment is the first step, but need not
necessarily involve taking measurements
Information may be obtained on vibration
levels:
Database information-
commercially available in-use data for a range of
operating situations
Public web-based databases of in use data
Manufacturers emission data

Emission data
Machinery Directive (98/37/EC) (enacted in
UK by Supply of machinery (safety) regulations 1992
as amended) requires manufacturers &
suppliers to:
Design & construct machinery to state of the art for safe
operation
Provide instructions and information regarding any residual risks
(including vibration)
Specifically, must provide declaration of actual frequency-
weighted acceleration value if it exceeds 2.5ms
-2

So why not just use manufacturers
emission data to determine exposure?
Emission data based on standardised test
codes (e.g. BS EN ISO 8662 series for pneumatic
tools)
Test codes designed to allow repeatability
in different laboratories
Therefore based on artificial use of the tool
Emission data is therefore a poor
reflection of actual use levels of vibration
Measuring vibration
It might be necessary to take direct
measurements if
fairly reliable information is not available from
other sources, or
the use of the equipment is non-standard and
therefore other data obtained is not valid,

Before embarking on measurement exercise:
If equipment is a percussive tool and is used for more
than a few minutes a day, or
Equipment is a rotary tool and is used for more than
hr per day
assume that you are above the EAV and look at
obvious controls, e.g.
Do we need to use the tool at all?
Can the tool be replaced with low-emission
alternative?
Measuring vibration
Measuring vibration
Uses accelerometers
attached to equipment at
point in contact with hand
Measure all three axes, x, y
& z
May use single accelerometer
three times, or
Use triaxial accelerometer (3
accelerometers mounted in the
three planes
Prone to experimental error
Error in
vibration
measurement
Mounting the
accelerometer
the main source
of error
Hand held accelerometer
Through-the-fingers or ring-mounted poor response may cause amplification
Other sources of error
Operator the skill, technique, experience of the
operator
Task is the task performed during measurement
representative of a whole days exposure?
Tool or machine changes of emission due to wear of
cutting surfaces etc.
Exposure time assessment estimate of actual trigger
time crucial to exposure assessment
Measurement time- long enough to get representative
readings?
Instrumentation inherent limits on accuracy; electrical
noise (esp. from cables)
Measurement error
Pitts (2003) estimates an overall
uncertainty for best practice evaluation to
be in the range -19% to + 22%
BS EN ISO 5349-2 estimates typical
uncertainties on A(8) value to be in the
range 20-40%
Elements of a control programme
Change process to avoid HAV
E.g. using a JCB mounted pecker breaker rather than
pneumatic breakers
Removing old paint from steel with grit or water
blasting instead of a needle gun
Change process to reduce HAV
E.g. improving casting process to reduce need for
fettling
See HS(G) 170 Vibration Solutions
Use vibration-reduced tools
More and more becoming available look at their
vibration emission data to compare types

Train workers to use tools properly
Poor technique can increase vibration transmission
significantly
Put in procedural controls
Regular work breaks (with facility for hand-warming if
necessary)
Limitation of exposure time
Elements of a control programme (2)
Time to reach EAV = (2.5/A
hv
)
2
x 8 (hours)
Time to reach ELV = (5.0/A
hv
)
2
x 8 (hours)
Provide workers with information on risks and
controls
HSE Hard to handle video
Written safe operating procedures & work instructions
Provide health surveillance
Examination by occupational nurse/doctor
Self-reporting questionnaire (e.g. HSG 88)
PPE? Dont bother with Anti-vibration gloves
they dont work
And of course supervision
Elements of a control programme
(3)

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