Gordon T. Lepley IV
L. Marcelyn Bruce
Collaboration in Sci. and Technol., Inc., 15835 Park Ten Place, Ste. 105, Houston, TX 77084-5131
As the lawn-maintenance industry grows in suburban residential areas, it has become a new and significant source of environmental noise and occupational noise exposure. Due to the short duration at any one location and public acceptance of this activity, there are few community complaints about the noise (except at unreasonable hours). This paper will concentrate on recreational and occupational exposure, where individuals are exposed to high noise levels for long periods of time. Most lawn-maintenance workers spend from 8--10 h per day exposed to A-weighted sound levels greater than 85 dB, and it appears that few employees wear hearing protection. Sound levels were measured and monitored at the operator's ear and measured at a distance of 10 ft for the following equipment: lawn mowers, gas and electric edgers, gas and electric trimmers, electric blowers, and an electric hedge trimmer. A-weighted sound levels at the operator's ear ranged from 82 to 102 dB. A comparison of equipment sound levels will be presented as well as a comparison of noise levels for gas versus electric lawn equipment. Finally, daily noise exposure for lawn-maintenance employees will be developed using the data.