Evaluation of occupational noise exposure among forest machine operators: a study on the harvest of Pinus taeda trees

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Camargo, D. A. [UNESP]
Munis, R. A. [UNESP]
Rocha, Q. S. [UNESP]
Simões, D. [UNESP]

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Exposure to noise in the working environment of forest machine operators harvesting wood in planted forests can compromise their health, safety and quality of life. The objective of the study reported here was to assess whether full-time occupational noise exposure among forest machine operators employed in the harvesting of Pinus taeda in southern Brazil aligns with the standards of Brazil’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Data were collected from four operators of self-propelled forestry machines that performed mechanised wood harvesting operations, including felling, extraction and processing of trees in planted P. taeda forests. The noise levels were collected during an eight-hour workday using the strategic measurement criterion for the whole day in the guidelines of Acoustics–Determination of occupational noise exposure. Noise levels were analysed according to the criteria established by NIOSH. The percentage of the risk of hearing loss was estimated according to the Portuguese Standard. In felling and processing operations, results show that the average daily exposure levels to occupational noise exceeded the action level of 80 dB(A). During timber extraction, the operators were exposed to noise levels above the exposure limit of 85 dB(A). However, given that the study’s statistics were directed to a comparative analysis, it was not possible to establish a hypothesis of inference on the observed variables.



forest machine, Hearing health, risk of hearing loss, sound pressure level

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Australian Forestry, v. 85, n. 2, p. 89-94, 2022.