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November 17, 2018

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Noise exposure

Noise exposure: Are construction sites too loud?

Accordioning construction equipment rental company BigRentz, 30 million construction workers in the US are exposed to prolonged hazardous noise on a regular base. This, the company says, has led to hearing difficulties in round 14% of all construction workers.

The average person can hear sounds as low as 10 decibels, something like the sound of a leaf falling from a tree. The human ear can also detect sound above 140 decibels, but this can be painful and prolonged exposure to this kind of noise can be dangerous.

In fact, any sound over 85 decibels can cause damage to your hearing. Extended exposure to this kind of noise can lead to permanent ear damage or even hearing loss. Forklift trucks and bulldozers create nose well above 85 decibels, creating a real issue in the construction industry.

The infographic below looks at the average sound produced by commonly used construction tools and machinery.

construction-site-noise

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Stuart Robertson
Stuart Robertson

Being a sufferer of NIHL everyone needs to take noise more seriously. We well underestimate noise exposure, construction is an ever changing environment where simpler tools to managing noise is the way forward without making it complicated. I disagree with the guidance about having to raise your voice to have a normal conversation when about 2 m apart for at least part of the day as a way of estimating, the industry supplies less expensive instruments such as the SD 200 to better manage noise.