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Variation in Noise Measurements of Power Tools Used in Construction

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021297/00001

Material Information

Title: Variation in Noise Measurements of Power Tools Used in Construction
Physical Description: 1 online resource (80 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Nickels, John A
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: construction, decibel, ear, exposure, hearing, jobsite, measurement, niosh, noise, osha, power, reduction, safety, sound, tools
Building Construction -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Building Construction thesis, M.S.B.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Construction workers and their supervisors need noise level data on their power tools and equipment so they can make appropriate decisions regarding the use of adequate hearing protection. Unrealistic noise measurements contribute to permanent hearing loss for construction workers. Besides construction workers, the general public is increasingly concerned about noise levels from construction worksites, and medical costs are rising from hearing related claims. As a result, governments and industry leaders are incorporating noise limitations in their contracts. However, there is a need for more accurate and realistic noise measurements of power tools and equipment, the most significant contributors to jobsite noise. Current methods for measuring noise levels are sometimes unrealistic, resulting in inadequately protected workers regardless of compliance with current government regulatory standards. This research attempts to more accurately measure noise levels under several realistic conditions and jobsite environments using power tools most commonly used by construction workers.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by John A Nickels.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.B.C.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Hinze, Jimmie W.
Local: Co-adviser: Issa, R. Raymond.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021297:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021297/00001

Material Information

Title: Variation in Noise Measurements of Power Tools Used in Construction
Physical Description: 1 online resource (80 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Nickels, John A
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: construction, decibel, ear, exposure, hearing, jobsite, measurement, niosh, noise, osha, power, reduction, safety, sound, tools
Building Construction -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Building Construction thesis, M.S.B.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Construction workers and their supervisors need noise level data on their power tools and equipment so they can make appropriate decisions regarding the use of adequate hearing protection. Unrealistic noise measurements contribute to permanent hearing loss for construction workers. Besides construction workers, the general public is increasingly concerned about noise levels from construction worksites, and medical costs are rising from hearing related claims. As a result, governments and industry leaders are incorporating noise limitations in their contracts. However, there is a need for more accurate and realistic noise measurements of power tools and equipment, the most significant contributors to jobsite noise. Current methods for measuring noise levels are sometimes unrealistic, resulting in inadequately protected workers regardless of compliance with current government regulatory standards. This research attempts to more accurately measure noise levels under several realistic conditions and jobsite environments using power tools most commonly used by construction workers.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by John A Nickels.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.B.C.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Hinze, Jimmie W.
Local: Co-adviser: Issa, R. Raymond.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021297:00001


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VARIATION IN NOISE MEASUREMENTS OF
POWER TOOLS USED IN CONSTRUCTION























By

JOHN A. NICKELS


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007

































2007 John A. Nickels









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

L IS T O F T A B L E S ......... .... ........... ............... ............................................... ............... .... 5

LIST O F FIG U RE S ................................................................. 6

LIST O F TER M S .......... .... ........................................................................... 7

A B S T R A C T ......... ........................ .................. ......................................... .. 9

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ............... .............................. .................... .............. 11

The Problem .............................................................................. ................ 11
M measuring N oise ..................12................................................
M motivation for This R research ............................................................ ... ............... 13

2 L IT E R A TU R E R E V IE W ............................................................................... ............... ... 15

H earin g L o ss ...................................... ..................................................... 15
H hearing Protection ....................................................... .................. ........ 17
O S H A S ta n d ard s ................................................................................................................ 19
R regulatory Challenges .................. ............................................ ......... ......... 21
P reviou s Studies of P ow er T ools............................................ ...........................................22
Shortcom ings of Laboratory Testing ......................................................... ............. 24

3 R E SE A R C H M E TH O D S ................................................................................ ............... 25

O v erv iew ................... .......... ................................................................ 2 5
Pow er Tools Selected for M easurem ent...................................................... ...................26
Sound Instrumentation............................................... ...... ...... ........ 28
N oise M easurem ent A approach ........................................................................ ..................28
S c e n a rio s ...................................... ..........................................2 9
Center-of-R oom Placem ent of Tool ............................................ .......................... 29
T ool P lacem ent N ear a W all............................................................................ ............ 3 1
Corner-of-Room Placem ent of Tool....................................................... ...................32
Tool Placem ent A round the Cor er............................................ ........................... 33
N oise L evels at a D instance (indoors)............................................................................ 34
Tw o T ools in C om bination .................................................................... ............... 35
N oise L evels at a D instance (outdoors)........................................................................ ...35
Limitations of Research .................. .................................... .......... ........... ...35

4 R E SU L T S ......................................................................... ............... 37

W ide R ange of N oise L levels .............................................................39









Com paring Positions.......... ...... ....................... ........... 40
L oaded vs. U loaded C onditions....................................................................................... 44
Effect of Different Work Scenarios on Measurements........................................................44
Corner-of-Room .............. ... ................................ ........... 44
N e a r-a -W a ll ..............................................................................4 5
Around-the-Corner ...................... ........................... ......45
T w o T ools in C om bination ....................................................................... ..................45
E effect of D instance on N oise L evel............................................................................. .........48

5 D ISC U S SIO N ............................................................................... 50

Determinants of Power Tool Noise Levels....................................... .................. ......... 50
D ista n c e ...................................................................................................................... 5 0
E n v iro n m e n t ....................................................................................................... 5 1
L o c atio n o f T o o l .....................................................................................................5 1
Position of Operator ...... ............................... ........ 51
Loaded vs. U loaded ...................................... .............. ................. 52
Comparing This Study's Results with NIOSH Ratings................................. ...............53

6 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS .................................. ...............54

APPENDIX

A NIOSH: SOUND LEVELS FOR POWER TOOLS.................................. ............... 57

B NOISE MEASUREMENT DATA .................................. ......................... .......66

L IST O F R EFE R EN C E S ............................................................................... 78

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H .................................................................................................... 80























4









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2.1 Examples of Decibel Levels of Various Sources...........................................................18

2.2 OSHA Noise Exposure Limits for Construction Industry ...........................................20

3.1. Power Tools M measured in This Study ................................................... .................26

4.1 Average Noise Measurements on Lateral Plane Positions 1 to 4 .................................42

4.2 Differences Between Each Position Reading and the Average for the Tool ...................42

4.3 P positions 5 and 6 M easurem ents.......................................................................... .....43

4.4 Theoretical Increase in Sound Levels When Combining Two Sound Sources .................46

4.5 Noise Measurements for Two Tools in Combination....................... ..................47

5.1 Comparison of Noise Levels Within First Three Feet of Tool ........................................52









LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

1-1. Average Decibels for Construction Trades..................................................11

3.1 Sper Scientific Sound M eter ......... ................. ................. ................... ............... 27

3.2. C enter-of-R oom P lacem ent ....................................................................... ..................30

3.3 Tool Placem ent N ear W all ........................................ ...................... ............... 31

3.4 Tool Placem ent at Co er of Room .............. ......................................................... 32

3.5. Tool Placed Around the Cor er from M icrophone................................. ...... ............ ...33

3.6. N oise L levels at a D instance ....... .................. ................. ......................... ............... 34

4.1 Noise Level Measurements for Selected Power Tools in their Unloaded Condition
(except as noted). ........................................................ ................. 37

4.2 Noise Measurements for Black and Decker Circular Saw..............................................39

4.3 Noise Measurements for Sears 3" Belt Sander.......................... .................... 40

4.4 Illustration of Various Positions for All Noise Measurements................................41

4.5 Change in N oise Reduction (Indoors) ...................................................... .............. 49

4.6 Change in N oise Reduction (Outdoors).................................... .......................... ......... 49









LIST OF TERMS


Acoustics


Decibels (dB) /
A-weighted (dBA)











Exchange Rate







Hearing Loss


Noise


The physical qualities of a room, such as size, shape, amount of
noise, that determine the audibility and perception of speech and
music within the room (NPC, 2004).

A commonly used unit of sound measurement that uses one of
three scales on a sound level meter to measure intensity of sound
pressure.
Sound meters are graduated in decibels, using A, B, or C scales as
specified by ANSI S1.4-1994 for sound level meters. The A-
weighted scale is better at mimicking the sensitivity of the human
ear, which is less efficient at low and high frequencies than at
medium or speech-range frequencies. The decibel scale is not
linear; it is logarithmic. Every increase of 3-dB doubles the sound
level received by the ear (NPC, 2004).

The amount of decibels that requires a worker's exposure time to
be cut in half. Because every 3-dB increase results in a doubling
of noise exposure, OSHA has designated limits on the amount of
time a worker can be exposed to that increase. For example, a 3-
dB exchange rate requires that exposure time be halved if noise
increases by 3-dB (NIOSH, 1998).

The amount of hearing impairment, in decibels, from a given
benchmark at a particular frequency. There are three types of
hearing loss: 1) Conductive, meaning from damage to the
mechanical conductors in the ear; 2) Sensor-neural, meaning
damage within the cochlea that contains the nerve hairs that break
when sound vibrations are too great; and 3) Noise-induced
hearing loss, which is 100% preventable and is caused by
excessive noise levels. Noise-induced hearing loss is the most
common work-related condition (Center, 2001).

NIOSH defined hearing impairment in 1972 as a hearing loss of in
excess of 25 dBA from a given threshold level. With this, NIOSH
assessed the risk of hearing impairment as a function of levels and
exposure time. They determined that at average daily noise levels
of 80 dBA, 85 dBA, and 90 dBA over a 40-year exposure period,
there was a 3%, 16%, and 29%, respectively, added risk of hearing
impairment over what would normally occur from other causes in
the unexposed population (NIOSH, 1996).

Any unnatural or unwanted sound measured in the A-weighted
scale (NPC, 2004).









Noise Dosimeter A sound level meter with memory and computational functions.
Since OSHA regulates the amount of noise exposure in a 24-hour
time period, the dosimeter stores sound levels that can later be used
to compute the "dose" of noise exposure a worker receives during
a workshift or other time period (the time-weighted average or
TWA) (NIOSH, 1998). According to OSHA, exceeding a TWA
of exposure to 85 dBA for 8 hours is hazardous. TWA is calculated
as follows:
TWA = 10 x Log(Noise Dose / 100) + 85

Noise Reduction Rating
The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is an indicator, required by
law on all hearing protectors, of the device's ability to reduce the
decibel level (dB) of incoming sound (NIOSH, 1998).

Sound An auditory sensation evoked by the variation in pressure waves in
a medium such as air. Sound pressure is measured in decibels
(NPC, 2004).


Threshold Shift


A decibel change in a worker's ability to hear a specified
frequency, as measured by comparing current audibility to a prior
threshold. A reduction in hearing by more than 5dB warrants
follow-up action. NIOSH defines a significant threshold shift as
one that is at least 15 dB worse at any hearing frequency (NIOSH,
1998).









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

VARIATION IN NOISE MEASUREMENTS OF
POWER TOOLS USED IN CONSTRUCTION

By

John A. Nickels

December 2007

Chair: Jimmie Hinze
Cochair: R. Raymond Issa
Major: Building Construction

Construction workers and their supervisors need accurate noise level information about

their power tools and equipment, so they can make appropriate decisions regarding the use of

hearing protection. If they rely on unrealistic measurements of decibel levels, they are in danger

of contributing to permanent hearing loss. As the public becomes increasingly concerned about

noise levels from construction worksites and medical costs are increasing from hearing related

claims, governments and industry leaders are incorporating noise limitations in their contracts.

In addition, government agencies such as National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

(NIOSH) are attempting to address the need for standardized noise measurements of power tools

and equipment, the most significant contributors to noise on ajobsite. However, the methods for

measuring noise levels are sometimes unrealistic, resulting in inadequately protected workers

regardless of the appearance of adequate hearing protection in compliance with Occupational

Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

What is needed and addressed in this research is a more accurate understanding of the

actual noise level reaching the worker's ear when, for example, the worker is using a

hammerdrill in a small enclosed environment while another worker is working alongside with a









circular saw. In cases such as this, the commonly used method of measuring the decibel level of

a single tool in a sound laboratory is unhelpful. The result is unfortunate for the worker and any

bystanders, who may be basing the noise reduction ratings of their hearing protection devices on

this unrealistic decibel rating.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The Problem

Occupationally induced hearing loss continues to be one of the leading occupational

illnesses in the United States. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

(NIOSH) estimates that 15% of the workers exposed to noise levels of 85 dBA or higher will

develop material hearing impairment. Research demonstrates that construction workers are

regularly exposed to noise (Figure 1), and the source is primarily from tools and equipment.

Studies have found widespread overexposure to noise and a lack of hearing protection use on

jobsites. Serious and deadly falls on construction sites may be related to noise induced balance

dysfunction and impaired equilibrium.
















E] dmak Hwy s im flw




Source: Construction Safety Association of Ontario

Figure 1-1. Average Decibels for Construction Trades

Elevated noise levels pose an additional threat of injury or death to workers by

compromising communication among them and their supervisors. Chronic exposure leads to the









onset of permanent hearing loss that may not be noticed for many years, as the hearing loss is so

gradual that the worker does not notice until understanding speech becomes difficult like the

old frog-in-boiling-water analogy. Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 % preventable, but there is

no proven way to reverse it. Therefore, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

(OSHA) imposed rules on hearing conservation for general industry.

Measuring Noise

Until recently, there were little data on noise levels for the most common tools used on

construction sites. Tool manufacturers have been reluctant to provide this information, and there

have been few research papers on the subject. Nevertheless, industry and regulators alike

understand the need for reducing noise at the construction worksite, and noise limit provisions

are beginning to show up in construction contracts, which is forcing the need for more noise

measurement and research in this area. Recognizing the early but rising demand for quieter

equipment, NIOSH is promoting "Buy Quiet" programs and responding to the need for a means

to compare noise levels between products. NIOSH recently developed a database of noise level

data for a wide variety of power tools, and in September, 2006, published its results. The data

serves as a good start in the process of bringing awareness to the minds of workers and

contractors of noise levels generated by their equipment, but the focus is on one decibel value

that represents that noise level. The problem with using one value to measure the noise level

centers around the complex nature of sound measurement and the host of variables that

determine the decibel level emanating from the tool. As a result, there is disagreement regarding

the most appropriate method for determining a single noise level for a particular tool. Ideally,

workers would want to accurately determine the noise level at the point the sound enters their ear

canal, since audiologists have determined that sustained exposure to noise above 85 decibels

will, over time, cause permanent damage. The louder the sound, the less time before hearing









damage will occur. If workers know what the incoming noise level is, they can take action to

shield their ears from damaging sound levels. However, there can be a major difference between

the decibel reading at a particular tool (where the measurements are commonly taken) and the

decibel reading at the ear, which is of considerable importance in understanding the potential for

hearing loss.

Motivation for This Research

With the data that exist today, workers are utilizing a single decibel value that was

measured in a sound laboratory from one tool and in isolation from other tools and sound

reflecting objects. With this information of questionable accuracy, they are making decisions

about wearing hearing protection and what noise reduction rating (NRR) is necessary. As a

result, the true decibel level reaching their ears may be higher than they anticipate, and their

hearing is not being adequately protected.

The following factors can cause a sizable difference in the sound level, from the point of

emanation to the point of entry into the ear, where it really matters:

* Position of operator's head relative to the tool
* Distance and direction of operator and bystanders from the tool
* The environment in which the tool is operating
* The type of material being affected by the tool
* The motor of the tool and any attached shielding or insulation
* Whether other noise sources are nearby

Prior research has identified the range of possibilities and some of the effects of the above

factors on sound levels of certain power tools, but a more comprehensive testing protocol is

needed to determine the decibel range a construction worker can expect to encounter in the

operation of a wide variety of commonly used power tools. This investigation will address the

issue by measuring the sound levels produced by saws, drills, sanders, and other commonly used

power tools in different environments and conditions. The purpose is to provide a more accurate









range of noise levels generated by each tool. Even a few decibels of difference from what

workers are relying on today for their particular task, versus what is identified in this

investigation as the actual noise level, could have a major impact on protecting workers' hearing.

The reason is that changes in decibel levels are not linear; in fact, an increase of only three

decibels represents a doubling of the noise picked up by the human ear. If workers know that the

conditions in which they are working require additional hearing protection, hearing damage will

be avoided.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Hearing Loss

The perception of sound begins when vibration or turbulence causes pressure changes in

the air (or some other medium). These pressure changes produce vibrating waves that propagate

away from the source in varying directions. Some of those pressure waves enter the ear canal

and impact the cochlea, which contains tiny nerve hairs within a type of hydraulic fluid that

helps cushion the impact from noise shocks. When the sound vibrations are too great, the hair

cells initially swell, then break off causing reduced hearing perception. The time it takes for the

cochlea hairs to break is a function of several factors (Elgun, 1999):

* Intensity or loudness of the sound pressure
* Duration of exposure during a day and over a lifetime
* Type of noise: long wave, short wave, impulse
* Distance from noise source
* Existing hearing disease, if any
* Age of individual

The human ear is sensitive to specific sound frequencies between 500 and 8000 cycles per

second (Hz) of sound pressure. Hearing degradation occurs particularly at frequencies of 3000

to 6000 Hz. (Hough, 2005). A mild loss of hearing would reduce hearing by about 10 decibels,

while a significant loss is considered to be in excess of 20 decibels (Center, 2001). One of the

first signs of noise-induced hearing loss is difficulty understanding certain mid-range

frequencies. Typically, the person can still hear lower frequency vowels but certain higher

frequency consonants (such as 't', 'd', and 's') sound like mumbling. The person might say, "I

hear you but I can't understand you." The insidious nature of hearing loss is the slow boil

analogy in which hearing is reduced gradually (over years of time) from repeated overexposure.

It must be understood that one can also get noise-induced hearing loss from a single exposure to









a short burst of loud noise (Smoorenburg, 1992). Individuals have varying degrees of sensitivity

to noise, so the effects of overexposure are not the same for everyone. Nevertheless, noise is a

significant health threat according to the World Health Organization. The director of the Noise

Center at the League for the Hard of Hearing, Nancy Nadler, stated, "In general, sustained

exposure to noise above 85 decibels, over time, will cause permanent hearing loss and the louder

the sound, the less time before hearing damage can occur. Studies have indicated that noise

causes physiological changes in sleep, blood pressure, and digestion." OSHA states that

exposure to some solvents, gases such as carbon monoxide, and even whole-body vibration may

worsen noise-induced hearing loss.

A 1999 study on noise exposure in four basic trades of construction (carpenters, laborers,

ironworkers, and operating engineers) revealed a consistent pattern of sound levels above legal

limits, especially in building erection and concrete construction. Between 30-40% of all noise

measurements in the study exceeded 85 dBA (Neitzel, 1999).

The 1992 National Occupational Exposure Survey (NOES) collected data that determined

that 81 to 88% of construction-related workers were exposed to noise levels of at least 85 dBA,

representing nearly 3.5 million workers.

There is a growing consensus that hearing loss occurs with chronical exposure to 8-hour

days of as low as 82 decibels, which is 3 decibels less and half the noise level allowed by current

OSHA standards for general industry (Center, 2001). "Even safe sound levels can become

potentially damaging when they occur simultaneously", said Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D. and

director of clinical services at Yale University's School of Medicine. If you must raise your

voice to talk to someone an arm's length away, the noise level is probably over 85 dBA (Neitzel,

2006).









Although noise-induced hearing loss is entirely preventable, there is no way to reverse it.

Hearing aids are the only treatment, but they simply amplify sound. Many workers mistakenly

perceive as temporary the effects from short periods of very loud sounds, called a temporary

threshold shift. Hearing is noticeably diminished but seems to fully return after a period of time.

The medical community is unclear whether the hair cells in the cochlea merely swelled

temporarily or died then regenerated. In some animals, regeneration of the hair cells has been

observed, but there have never been tests on human hair cells (Center, 2001).

Hearing Protection

The most important thing workers can do is prevent noise from reaching unsafe levels and

for extended periods of time. Wearing ear protection is critical. The following table puts noise

levels into perspective and highlights the need for the increased use of hearing protection.

Unfortunately, studies cited by OSHA on the use of hearing protection among U.S.

construction workers showed that, at best, hearing protectors were used by workers routinely

exposed to excessive noise levels by about 33% of the workers, with a range of 1% to 50% for

workers in various trades (OSHA, 2002).

University of Washington researchers measured the noise exposures of tile-setters and

found that 20% of the work shifts were above the 8-hour limit of 85 dBA and nearly one-third of

the work shifts had short periods of extremely high levels, above 115 dBA. Every tool used by

the tile-setters exceeded 85 dBA. Nevertheless, they found that hearing protection was used less

than 15% of the time it was needed. Based on their measurements, most tile-setters would get

sufficient hearing protection if they wore a device providing an Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

of between 12 and 33 decibels (Neitzel, 2006).









Table 2.1 Examples of Decibel Levels of Various Sources.
DECIBELS
DEVICE
(DBA)
Grand Canyon at Night 10
Computer 37-45
Clothes Washer 65-70
Phone 66-75
Inside Car, Windows Closed, 30 MPH 68-73
Hairdryer 80-95
Lawn Mower 88-94
Power Tools 90-115
Motorcycle Wind Noise at 65 MPH 100
Rock Concert 95-110

When figuring out what NRR is needed, it is recommended that workers not simply

subtract the NRR on the hearing protection from the anticipated exposure level. OSHA

determined there are large differences between the reduction in noise levels measured in the

laboratory compared with that found in actual use (OSHA, 2002). At the February, 2003 Annual

Construction Safety Conference in Rosemont, Illinois, the Construction Safety Council

recommended that the NRR should be de-rated in the field by 7 dB to account for poor fit and

improper use. NIOSH calculates a NRR on earmuffs by subtracting 25% from the

manufacturer's NRR, and 50% for formable earplugs. They want the worker to shoot for a

maximum 80 dBA based on the NRR, because it is clear that reduction is not near what one

would expect. Earplugs and earmuffs can be used simultaneously to boost the reduction rating.

NIOSH recommends taking the device with the higher NRR and adding 5 to the field-adjusted

NRR. The use of active headphones may help, but OSHA does not, as yet, recognize active

protection devices which use destructive interference waves to cancel out low-frequency noise

while allowing the wearer to hear conversation and warning signs.

The primary problems with hearing protection include incorrect fitting and inconsistent use

which compromises the protective effect. However, placing undue reliance on protection









without attempting to reduce noise at the source, through engineering controls, is at the heart of

the problem.

As the construction industry recognizes the increasing medical costs of hearing related

injuries, and as governments write more noise limiting provisions into their contracts and

contractors demand quieter tools from manufacturers, reducing noise at the source will be

realized. Technology will assist in this effort. New devices are being developed, for example, to

inform workers, on a real-time basis, of their present exposure to noise by way of a display card

that turns colors depending on the noise level. Scott P. Schneider, safety and health director for

the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America, wants contractors and manufacturers to

collaborate on producing quieter equipment and not wait for government to enact new rules for

reducing noise levels. The difference between buying a 350mm circular saw blade with 84 teeth

of 3.5mm width instead of one with 108 teeth of a narrower 3.2mm width can be a 6 dBA

reduction. Some newer heavy-duty diesel generators are up to 15 dBA quieter than older diesel

and many gasoline generators (Laborer's, 2006).

OSHA Standards

NIOSH reaffirmed in 1998 the recommended exposure limit (REL) for occupational noise

exposure at 85 dBA as an eight-hour time-weighted average. Exposures at this level or above

are considered hazardous in general industry. For the construction industry, the OSHA standards

halve the exposure time for every 5 dBA increase in noise level, as indicated in Table 2.2.

Based on their measurements, most tile-setters would get sufficient hearing protection if

they wore a device providing an Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of between 12 and 33 decibels

(Neitzel, 2006).









Table 2.2 OSHA Noise Exposure Limits for Construction Industry.
Duration Per Day Sound Level
(in Hours) (in dBA, SLOW)
8 90
6 92
4 95
3 97
2 100
1.5 102
1 105
0.5 110
0.25 or Less 115

It has already been pointed out, however, that chronic exposure to levels of 82 dBA, or

one-half that of the current REL, can cause hearing loss. In 1996, NIOSH prepared a draft

revision to its criteria that recommended hearing loss prevention programs for 82 dBA or above

(NIOSH, 1996). This provision was never adopted, and the construction industry is actually

covered by an even more lenient standard (CFR 1926.52), which allows an 8-hour TWA

exposure limit of up to 90 dBA. These exposure levels pertain to continuous noise. Impulse

noise, or noise characterized by a sharp rise and rapid decay of sound level in a one-second

period of time, is limited to 140 dBA at peak, but only by convention; there is no enforcement by

OSHA for peak levels in the construction industry (NIOSH, 1996). NIOSH actually

recommends that workers should never be exposed to more than 115 dBA without protection,

based on research it cited in its draft revision document (Price, 1991). By comparing U.S.

standards with Europeans, the U.K. issued its updated Noise at Work Regulations in 2005 with

lower and upper daily exposure values of 80 dBA and 85 dBA with a personal daily or weekly

limit of 87 dBA.

The regulations for maximum exposure in the workplace are mere guidelines in the

absence of any other knowledge on the subject. The data suggest that a worker is well advised to

seek hearing protection at far lesser levels than is required.









Regulatory Challenges

In 2002, OSHA presented a request for comment from the construction industry regarding

suggested changes to the hearing conservation limits and programs specifically pertaining to

construction. Currently being discussed are dropping noise level standards (perhaps to the 85

dBA found in general industry), methods of compliance, portable monitoring and recording

strategies, testing and training programs, worker notification, and hearing protector devices,

including suggestions for dealing with noisy tools.

The problem in changing noise level standards is the transient nature of construction

activities on ajobsite, where tasks change and noise is intermittent throughout the day. Unsafe

noise levels can occur suddenly and without warning, since the source can be from other workers

in the vicinity. In an analysis of construction electricians with one to four workers in their

vicinity, noise levels were 7 dBA greater than when they were working alone (Neitzel, 1998). It

was suggested by Neitzel that noise monitoring be task-based, since there is evidence of

consistently higher noise levels for certain common construction tasks. However, the usefulness

for monitoring short-term tasks has been questioned, since it is impossible to predict a worker's

TWA exposure based on these short-term measurements. Better monitoring is needed, however,

and as the cost of sound dosimeters comes down, recording the noise of various short-term tasks

a worker performs over a day or week would be helpful. Presently, the Building Construction

Trades Department of the AFL-CIO balks at the suggestion of using dosimeters to monitor every

employee's noise exposure, on the basis of practicality and cost.

It is recognized that better sound level labeling of equipment is needed. Neitzel also

recommended that the level be determined at the worker's ear to more accurately reflect noise

exposure and the labeling be based upon the established European Noise Directives.









Providing a single noise level value is simplistic. It does not account for the many factors

and working situations that affect the actual decibel level received by the ear. Idealistically, a

noise dosimeter probe would be inserted in the ear canal to most accurately determine the noise

exposure level to the worker. More practically, a label that provides a range of decibels for

varying work conditions would be helpful to the worker and is the impetus for conducting this

research.

Previous Studies of Power Tools

With the intent to promote "buy-quiet" for purchasers of power tools, NIOSH has been

working on an informational database of decibel levels measured from commonly used power

tools in construction. In September, 2006, it presented its findings for 122 tools including

various brands of circular saws, drills, grinders, hammer drills, jig saws, miter saws, orbital

sanders, reciprocating saws, and screw drivers. The intent is to eventually develop the noise

level profile of every power tool or small machine found on a construction site. Using the

UC/NIOSH Acoustic Test Facility at the University of Cincinnati, a single decibel level was

determined from measurements using the hemispherical 10-microphone array specified in ISO

3744 (NIOSH, 2006). ISO standards specify "precision-grade" sound measurements as being

reproducible with a standard deviation of 1 dBA or less. "Survey-grade" measurements have a

standard deviation of within 5 dBA. NIOSH disclosed its standard deviation of measurements at

1.5 dBA. What is not stated is that the decibel rating is not intended to reflect the actual noise

level received by the operator's ear, due to the various factors mentioned in this chapter that

produce a range of possible noise levels in the "real-world" environment. However, having this

new database represents a milestone, because for the first time purchasers have a means of

comparing one brand of tool to another. By selecting the brand with the lowest decibel rating,

they are probably choosing the quietest available tool and are creating an incentive for









manufacturers to produce quieter products. See Appendix A for the data plots of decibel levels

measured for each power tool. It is interesting to note from the data that no one particular

manufacturer was consistently quieter than its competitors across its product line. In fact, some

manufacturers produced the noisiest tools in one category (e.g. Makita's orbital sander), and the

least noise in another (Makita's circular saw).

A separate study sponsored by NIOSH measured sound levels of two tools, a Hitachi

impact wrench and a DeWalt jigsaw, to determine the precise source of the noise and what

methods would be helpful in reducing the decibel level (Cai, 2003). The researchers discovered

that the moving parts (e.g. motor, fan) produced the most noise, but there was no particular

technique that could be generally applied to power tools to muffle their sound. Attenuation

varied by tool, the method of sound muffling, and the sound frequency signature.

A master's student at the University of Cincinnati investigated the possible noise control

methods for muffling a circular saw and table saw (Fouts, 2002). Using a sound laboratory, the

loaded and unloaded levels were measured, then the source of the noise was identified from the

various internal parts of each tool. An unloaded power tool operates without acting upon any

material, while a loaded power tool is measured under the condition of cutting into a material.

The noise from the cooling fan of the circular saw was found to be the largest contributor of

overall noise emanating from the tool, and the blade cutting action was found to be the lesser

contributor. It was concluded that whether the tool was loaded or unloaded was less important

than engineering a quieter motor and fan. Therefore, using the unloaded condition for measuring

the decibel level of a tool was valid, and measuring noise in a loaded condition was unnecessary,

in most cases. With regards to the table saw, the table structure was found to be insignificant as

a noise source. Again, the motor was the largest contributor. Different ways of muffling the









sound from the motors was tried, from applying rubber mounts to isolate the motor from the rest

of the tool, to adding absorptive material to the inner walls of the housing. Rubber isolation

mounts had very little effect on the overall sound level, but adding absorptive material lowered

sound levels by 3 to 5 dBA. The researcher also noted the shortcomings of measuring sound

levels in a laboratory environment under the ANSI standard semi-anechoic condition.

Shortcomings of Laboratory Testing

ANSI S12.15 Test Code provides testing procedures for measuring airborne sound from

portable electric power tools, and it is used in conjunction with ISO 3744/3745. The provisions

of the test code call for testing in a semi-anechoic environment or outside setting, while the ISO

3745 standard provides guidelines for semi-anechoic and anechoic conditions. The anechoic

condition is considered the most accurate simulation of the real environment. This condition is

defined as the tool being held in the air, allowing it to freely emanate sound in all directions. In

this state, errors caused by room characteristics are eliminated. However, suspending heavy

tools and equipment makes the anechoic process difficult. Also, some tools are better suited for

measurement in a semi-anechoic condition, where the tool is placed on a hard reflecting surface.

Measurements taken in a semi-anechoic environment versus an anechoic environment can yield

widely varying results, depending on the frequency and distances from the source. The semi-

anechoic condition was shown to produce up to twice the sound level at low frequencies and at

short distances above the source as compared with the same measurement taken in an anechoic

chamber (Fouts, 2002). The Draft ISO Standard 3745 indicated a difference of as much as 17 dB

between the methods it outlined for measuring sound in a semi-anechoic condition. Fouts

concluded that current test methods for measuring power tools do not adequately take into

account the environmental factors in which the measurement is taken.









CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH METHODS

Overview

Prior research has identified widespread overexposure to noise levels exceeding federal

standards. In an effort to help managers and workers identify the tools and situations in which

workers encounter excessive noise levels on the jobsite, individual researchers and government

agencies, such as NIOSH, have measured decibel levels of many construction power tools. The

problem with some of the research is that measurements were conducted in laboratory settings

with a single decibel level, expressed in dBA, being assigned to each tool. These results fall

short of the primary objective, which is to provide noise levels that best simulate actual noise

received by the worker's ear so that the worker can determine the most appropriate noise

reduction required to prevent hearing damage. The reason is that prior research indicated a wide

disparity in sound measurements depending on the direction and distance of the sound meter

relative to the location of the tool.

What is needed is to determine the range of noise levels for common power tools in an

environment that most simulates everyday construction settings. One situation may lend itself to

more or less hearing protection than another. In the ideal world (where cost or effort is not an

factor), preventing hearing damage on the jobsite would best be accomplished by measuring

noise levels right at the entrance to the ear canal for every type of work condition. Armed with

the most accurate noise measurements, workers could make the best possible decisions about

what level of noise reduction is required to prevent hearing damage. In the real world, if workers

are aware of the range of possible decibel levels for each power tool they use, given a set of

typical situations often encountered on the jobsite, then proper noise reduction can still be

achieved and hearing damage prevented.









The goal of this study was to measure the range of possible sound pressure levels,

measured in dBA, that the construction operator encounters in commonly occurring indoor and

outdoor conditions and for commonly used power tools.

Power Tools Selected for Measurement

The electric power tools studied are commonly found on construction sites. In some cases,

different brands for the same type of tool were compared in order to gauge the relevance of the

tool's design to the expected noise level.

Table 3.1. Power Tools Measured in This Study.
Technical Rated speed
Type Manufacturer Model Type ecs. (rp
Specs. (rpm)
Sears Craftsman 3/8" Chuck 2.5 Amp Variable
315.10042 Corded Speed
0-1200 RPM
Drill/Driver Ryobi P206 1/2" Chuck 18 Volt Variable
Drill/Driver
Cordless Speed
0-1300 RPM
DeWalt DC900 1/2" Chuck 36 Volt Variable
Cordless Speed
0-1600 RPM
Bosch 1199VSR /2" / 34" 8.5 Amp Variable
Chuck Speed
Hammer Drill Chuck Speed
Corded 0-3000 RPM

Skil 4395 n/a Variable Orbit Variable
Jig Saw 3.2 Amp Speed
0-3200 SPM
DeWalt DC330 Cordless 18 Volt Variable
Speed
0-3000 SPM
DeWalt DW938 Cordless 18 Volt Variable
Reciprocating Speed
Speed
0-2800 SPM
Milwaukee 6509 Corded 4 Amp Variable
Speed
0-2400 SPM
Black and Decker SC500 Corded 3.4 Amp Variable
Type 1 Speed
0-6500 SPM





Table 3.1 (Continued)
ircu Black & Decker
Circular Saw

Wet Tile Saw Husky
Sears
Sander Grinder / Sander

Sears
Belt Sander
Makita
Finishing Sander
Sears
Grinder

Ro r Black and Decker
Router
Planer Hitachi
Ryobi
Detail Carver


7390 Type
3
THD950L
Craftsman
315.11505
1
Craftsman
315.11721
B04550

Craftsman
315.27440
7616 Type
1
370W
DC500


7-1/4"

7" Blade
9",


3"

n/a

n/a

n/a

Electric
n/a


9 Amp

8 Amp
2HP
13 Amp

7 Amp

1.6 Amp

2.5 Amp

5 Amp

3.4 Amp
40 Watt


Figure 3.1. Sper Scientific Sound Meter


Wood Blade
150 Teeth
7000 RPM
4600 RPM


Belt Size
3" x 21"
14000 OPM

26,500 RPM

23000 RPM

15000 RPM
2-Speed
10,400 /
12500 SPM


I


I









Sound Instrumentation

All sound measurements were taken with a Type 2 digital sound meter with detachable

probe model 840012 manufactured by Sper Scientific Ltd.. Features include computer

interface, fast and slow time weighting, A and C decibel frequency weighting scales covering 30

- 130 dB, and the hold function. The manual and auto range scales have 0.1 dB resolution and

an accuracy of+1.5dB. The meter was manufactured and calibrated in September, 2006 to meet

IEC651 and ANSI S1.4 specifications for a Type 2 sound meter. Response rates for fast and

slow are 200 milliseconds and 500 milliseconds, respectively.

Noise Measurement Approach

In order to simulate the range of sound levels received by operators of power tools in

commonly found construction environments, measurements were taken in indoor and outdoor

situations. Four common situations were considered and up to six measurements were taken

around the power tools as follows:


* Center of Room Power tools were placed in the center of an enclosed room ( Figure 3.2)
constructed of concrete masonry walls and a stucco ceiling further described in the
following paragraph;

* Near a wall Power tools were positioned in the same enclosed room at a distance of three
feet from a concrete masonry wall ( Figure 3.3);

* In the Corner of Room Power tools were positioned in the room at a distance three feet
from two intersecting concrete masonry walls (approximately four feet from the corer) in
an enclosed room (Figure 3.4);

* Around the Corner from Tool Power tools were placed on one side of a concrete masonry
wall at a height of five feet, while noise measurements were taken on the opposite side of
the wall (Figure 3.5). Again, these measurements were taken in the same enclosed room
further described below.

* Two Tools in Combination Indoor Center-of-Room measurements were repeated, this
time using a combination of two tools side-by-side in order to simulate the conditions
when two workers operate their power tools in close proximity to each other.









* At a Distance -Maximum sound readings were recorded at set distances (3ft., 4ft., 6ft. and
8ft.) from the power tools, in both indoor and outdoor environments. This scenario was
intended to determine if there is a pattern of noise level decline as a worker moves further
away from a power tool (Figure 3.6).

Figure 3.2 shows the typical arrangement of the tool vis-a-vis the operator and the

microphone of the sound meter. Two persons conducted the measurements: one holding and

taking readings from the sound meter, while the other person stabilized the tools and checked

measurements using a Swanson aluminum yardstick. In most scenarios, multiple

measurements were taken in a consistent manner on the same lateral plane as the power tool and

typically three feet from the tool's outer casing. The tools were placed 30 inches above the

ground surface to simulate typical working conditions on ajobsite. Measurements were taken on

the slow setting (response rate 500 ms) of the sound meter, recording the decibel level indicated

after five seconds to allow the tool's noise to peak and stabilize. The room utilized for the

measurements was enclosed on all four sides by concrete masonry walls with a smooth, stucco

finish and a smooth stucco-finished ceiling. The room dimensions were 14 feet by 18 feet with a

ceiling height of 7 feet, 10 inches and no windows. Above the ceiling were rafters and a barrel-

tile roof. The ambient decibel level in the room, before starting the power tool measurements,

was 36.6 dBA. There were no other objects in the room besides the two persons doing the

measurements, and the stool on which the tools were placed.

Scenarios

Center-of-Room Placement of Tool

Four measurements were taken (front, back, and sides) on the same plane as the tool and at

a distance of three feet from the tool's outer casing. A fifth measurement was taken at 18 inches

above the tool and at an angle approximately 15 degrees offset to the left of the tool to simulate

the typical position of the operator's ear during operation. Finally, a sixth measurement was











taken at the noisiest location around the power tool casing to measure the maximum possible


decibel level.


Four tools (Ryobi Detail Carver, Husky 7" Wet Tile Saw, Black and Decker 7-1/4"


Circular Saw, and Sears 3" Belt Sander) were measured more than once, once in unloaded


condition then loaded with cutting material. For example, the Black and Decker circular saw


was measured with just a spinning blade, then it was measured while cutting a 2x4 stud using a


150-tooth wood blade. A third set of measurements was taken using an old, worn 20-tooth fast-


cut wood blade. These measurements were intended to determine the noise level differences


among different blades that might be found on ajobsite.




ABOVE

OPERATOR
Offset 15 from azimuth
Height 48 inches



.0
SYMBOLS REPRESENT
SOUND MEASUREMENT
LOCATIONS (Typical) **
3 feet (Typical: Lateral Plane) *'


TOOL PLACEMENT*
Height 30 inches ..
.' BEHIND TOOL


0
24 inches


GROUND SURFACE
(Reflective Plane)



FRONT OF TOOL





Figure 3.2. Center-of-Room Placement










Tool Placement Near a Wall

The noise levels of all 18 power tools were measured when placed at a distance of three

feet from the wall in the same 14ft. by 18ft. enclosed room used for the other indoor scenarios.

As shown in Figure 3.4, five measurements were taken, including one at the approximate

location of where a typical right-handed operator's ear might be positioned slightly to the left

and above the tool at a height 30 inches off the ground ( Figure 3.3).


ABOVE


FRONT OF TOOL


Figure 3.3. Tool Placement Near Wall









Corner-of-Room Placement of Tool

Measurements were taken in the corer of the same enclosed room, with each power tool

positioned at three feet from the intersecting wall surfaces, as shown in Figure 3.4. The tool was

positioned facing towards the corner, with its back facing outward and the operator facing the

corner while holding the tool.


Figure 3.4. Tool Placement at Corner of Room












Tool Placement Around the Corner

The tools were positioned on one side of a concrete masonry wall in the same enclosed

room as described in the other scenarios. The microphone of the sound meter was placed on the

opposite side of the wall in order to determine the sound level for a worker standing just around

the corner from the tool operator ( Figure 3.5). A single decibel reading was taken at a height of

five feet from the ground and set back two feet from the end of the wall.


FRONT OF TOOL


Figure 3.5. Tool Placed Around the Corner from Microphone










Noise Levels at a Distance (indoors)

For the indoor environment, the tool being tested was placed as in the Center-of-Room scenario.

While readings were taken at four radial points for each distance, only the highest noise reading

was recorded for each distance from the tool, beginning at three feet, then four feet, six feet, and

ending at eight feet ( Figure 3.6). Moving around the tool at each of the four lateral locations, as

in the other scenarios, the highest noise level was recorded. A total of four readings per tool

were recorded.






ABOVE


Figure 3.6. Noise Levels at a Distance









Two Tools in Combination

From the sample of 18 tools, the following combinations of tools were positioned as in the

Center-of-Room scenario and placed side-by-side, one-inch from each other:

Black and Decker Circular Saw combined with Sears Craftsman Belt Sander
Husky Wet Tile Saw combined with Black & Decker Circular Saw
Husky Wet Tile Saw combined with Sears Craftsman Belt Sander
Ryobi Detail Carver combined with Sears Craftsman Die Grinder



As in the Center-of-Room scenario, five measurements were taken first around each tool

individually, then around the tool combination. A sixth measurement was taken at the midpoint

between the two tools to measure the highest combined noise level.

Noise Levels at a Distance (outdoors)

Similar to the indoor situation, only the maximum noise levels were recorded at each

distance, starting with 10 feet from the tool and moving away in 10- foot increments to the last

measurements taken at 60 feet. Because of the proximity of city traffic, the outdoor ambient

noise levels ranged from 48 to 55 dBA before turning on the tools. There were no objects

(structures, barriers, etc.) within the 60-foot measurement area; however, there were buildings at

a distance of 78 feet. The ground surface was a concrete slab of unequal dimensions at least 10

feet wide.

Limitations of Research

The measurements were taken under the above conditions and at certain distances from

objects to indicate the possible ranges of decibel levels for commonly-found jobsite conditions.

There are many more conditions in which workers are exposed, however, and operators can be

found at distances closer or further from their tools as they are using them. Room characteristics









can vary widely, as well. If there are objects in the room close by, or the room dimensions are

different than what was used in this study, the decibel level would be affected. Also, having a

roof or no roof overhead would make a difference in the readings. In this study, two persons

were used to ensure the accuracy and safety of the process. These persons represent objects in

the room, and while they were positioned in such a way as to minimize obstructing or reflecting

sound, their presence near the tools probably affected the readings.








CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

In all, 496 noise readings were taken to conduct the research contained herein (between 17

and 42 readings per tool), and all of the data are presented in Appendix B.


120
115
100
85.
80

60

40

20


0


NOISE LEVELMEASUREMENTS
HIGHEST AND LOWEST READINGS
(dBA)


I lU-EUEU-i rnI I-h -


... I U Elm El El El I U Elm ..... .......... -


0 L Loaded Condition
Maximum readings taken at the tool's outer casing. Minimum readings taken at a distance of three to six teet trom outer casing
.Figure 4.1 Noise Level Measurements for Selected Power Tools in their Unloaded Condition
(except as noted).









As noted in Chapter 3, prolonged exposure to 8-hour days of as low as 82 decibels can lead

to permanent hearing loss, and brief exposure to levels exceeding 115 decibels can cause

immediate and permanent damage. OSHA standards allow U.S. workers up to 85 dBA of

exposure per day and construction workers up to 90 dBA, while European standards are set at 85

dBA for all types of workers. The point of reiterating these limits is that all of the 18 power

tools measured in this study gave at least two noise readings in excess of 90 dBA, depending on

the conditions under which they were operating. Some of the tools registered above 90 dBA in

the majority of their readings. With a minimum of 17 indoor readings per tool, the following

tools indicated no noise readings of less than 90 dBA, except on the opposite side of a concrete

wall in the Around-the-Corner scenario:

(1) Hammerdrill (2) Circular Saw (3) Cordless Reciprocating Saw

(4) Router (5) Wet Tile Saw (6) Planer

(7) Corded Handsaw (8) Corded Drill (9) Sander/Grinder

(10)Belt Sander (11) Finishing Sander (12)Corded Jigsaw

(13)Cordless Jigsaw

The belt sander, circular saw, and wet tile saw were measured a total of 35 times, and none

of their indoor readings were under 93 dBA, except for the readings on the opposite side of the

wall (which were still high at over 88 dBA). By far, the noisiest power tool measured was the

belt sander, with a range of indoor measurements of 91-116 dBA. Even locating the sound meter

pickup on the opposite side of a concrete wall, under the Around-the-Corner scenario, the noise

level was over 90 dBA.

The cordless power tools (reciprocating saw, drill, jigsaw) were less noisy than their

corded counterparts, by between 1 and 10 dBA, but this difference could be the result of

differences in power strength and/or brand of tool. For example, the corded Sears drill was









noisier than the DeWalt 36 Volt cordless Drill by 2-9 dBA, and the DeWalt 36V was noisier than

the 18 Volt Ryobi cordless drill by 2-7dBA. Each is less powerful than the other, which is a

possibility that explains the noise differences.

Wide Range of Noise Levels

The data indicate a wide range of noise levels for each tool. Figures 4.2 and 4.3 provide

examples of these ranges, using the data from the circular saw and belt sander at each of the

seven measurement positions, four of the scenarios (Center-of-Room, Near-a-Wall, In-the-

Corner, Around-the-Comer), and under loaded and unloaded conditions.


Figure 4.2 Noise Measurements for Black and Decker Circular Saw


































Figure 4.3 Noise Measurements for Sears 3" Belt Sander

The data indicate that for every power tool studied, there is no one decibel level reading

that could provide an accurate measure of the noise emanating from the tool. It is important to

remember, when reading and comparing decibel levels given in this chapter, that every 3 dBA

difference represents a doubling/halving of noise, since the rate of increase/decrease in sound is

exponential as it rises or falls.

Comparing Positions

Figures 4.2 and 4.3 also provide examples for comparing noise levels of each of the seven

positions measured. To assist the reader in referring to the various positions, Figure 4.5 is

provided below. When standing behind the tool, while holding it in front and looking forward:

* Position 1 was located directly right of the tool three feet away;
* Position 2 was located directly in front of the tool three feet away;
* Position 3 was located directly left of the tool three feet away;
* Position 4 was located directly behind the tool three feet away;










* Position 5 was located above and about 15 degrees from azimuth behind the tool, at a
distance of two feet from the tool;
* Position 6 was located at a distance of within one-half inch of the tool's outer casing at the
point around the tool that registered the maximum noise level; and
* Position 7 was used exclusively for the Around-the-Corner measurement scenario, located
on the opposite side of a concrete wall as per figure 2.5.


ABOVE







TOOL

POSITION 6 -


FRONT OF TOOL


POSITION 5
(Simulating the Operator's
Ear above tool at a distance
L of 2 feet)


Distance: 3 feet (typ.)


BEHIND TOOL


GROUND SURFACE
(Reflective Plane)


Figure 4.4 Illustration of Various Positions for All Noise Measurements

There is a clear difference in noise levels depending on the position of the worker vis-a-vis the

tool. The following tables were taken from the noise measurement data and confirm this

finding.

Using only the noise measurements on the same lateral plane (Positions 1 through 4) around each

tool, an average noise level was computed ( Table 4.1). Then, the difference between the tool's

position measurement was compared with this average value. Finally, the collective differences

were averaged for each position.


POSITION 1











Table 4.1 Average Noise Measurements on Lateral Plane Positions 1 to 4
(taken from Center-of-Room data)
Belt Finish Cord 18V
Carver Planer Grinder Sander Sand. Sand Jigsaw Jigsaw 18V Sawzal
Position 1 69.9 95.9 82.4 103.8 98.4 92.1 96.3 95.6 92.8
Position 2 70.0 95.7 82.9 102.5 99.1 93.1 95.8 94.1 92.4
Position 3 69.9 96.2 84.2 102.9 98.0 93.6 96.1 94.9 93.0
Position 4 67.5 96.2 83.5 103.2 98.0 93.2 95.8 94.4 91.6
AVERAGES 69.3 96.0 83.3 103.1 98.4 93.0 96.0 94.8 92.5

AVERAGE
Cord Tile Circ. 18V 36V Cord FOR ALL
Sawzal Saw Saw Handsaw Router Drill Drill Drill Hammerdrill TOOLS
Position 1 91.0 96.7 96.1 97.2 94.5 75.6 83.0 92.1 95.4 91.6
Position 2 88.9 95.8 95.0 96.3 94.3 75.7 82.8 91.3 95.7 91.2
Position 3 90.5 96.6 97.1 98.2 95.0 75.8 82.5 92.2 95.8 91.8
Position 4 90.4 96.8 95.7 97.6 94.7 75.2 82.6 92.0 96.0 91.4
AVERAGES 90.2 96.5 96.0 97.3 94.6 75.6 82.7 91.9 95.7


Table 4.2 Differences Between Each Position Reading and the Average for the Tool
Belt Finish Cord 18V 18V
Carver Planer Grinder Sander Sand. Sand Jigsaw Jigsaw Sawzal


Position 1
Position 2
Position 3
Position 4


0.575
0.675
0.575
-1.825


-0.85
-0.35
0.95
0.25


0.7 0.025
-0.6 0.725
-0.2 -0.375
0.1 -0.375


0.85
-0.65
0.15
-0.35


0.35
-0.05
0.55
-0.85


AVERAGE
Cord Tile Circ. 18V 36V Cord DIFFERENCE
Sawzal Saw Saw Handsaw Router Drill Drill Drill Hammerdrill FOR ALL TOOLS
Position 1 0.8 0.225 0.125 -0.125 -0.125 0.025 0.275 0.2 -0.325 0.11
Position 2 -1.3 -0.675 -0.975 -1.025 -0.325 0.125 0.075 -0.6 -0.025 -0.30
Position 3 0.3 0.125 1.125 0.875 0.375 0.225 -0.225 0.3 0.075 0.32
Position 4 0.2 0.325 -0.275 0.275 0.075 -0.375 -0.125 0.1 0.275 -0.13










Comparing each position, the last column of Table 4.2 indicates that noise levels for Positions 2

(in front of the tool) and 4 (directly behind the tool) were lower than the other positions.

Position 3 (to the left of the tool) was clearly the noisiest of the lateral positions. In fact, there

was a variance of 0.62 dBA (or 21% noise difference) between these lowest and highest

positions. The noise level readings of four of the tools were not consistent with these findings:

sander/grinder, belt sander, finishing sander, and the hammerdrill.

Besides Position 6, taken at the noisiest part of the tool's outer casing, Position 5 data

indicate that it was noisier than Positions 1-4. Position 5 approximates the typical location of the

worker's head when operating a power tool, behind and about two feet above the tool. Had

Position 5 been three feet away like the other positions, instead of two feet, Position 5 may not

have been noisier than Positions 1-4. Therefore, no conclusions can be drawn from Position 5's

apparently noisier readings, other than to say that the positioning of the worker's head is very

important in determining the range of possible noise levels while operating power tools.

Table 4.3 Positions 5 and 6 Measurements (taken from Center-of-Room data)

Belt Finish Cord 18V 18V
Carver Planer Grinder Sander Sand. Sand Jigsaw Jigsaw Sawzal
Position 5 69.7 94.8 83.8 103.6 99.9 93.9 96.4 95.8 93.2
Position 6 88.7 111.3 100.7 110.8 113.6 104.2 108.8 106.7 102.9


A AVERAGE
Cord Tile Circ. 18V 36V Cord FOR ALL
Sawzal Saw Saw Handsaw Router Drill Drill Drill Hammerdrill TOOLS

Position 5 90.1 98.2 96.7 97.4 96.7 78.2 82.2 91.5 95.2 92.1

Position 103.6 111.2 110.6 112.5 105.7 94.1 96.4 103.9 113.6 105.5

Position 6 (at the casing) was by far the noisiest position, as one would expect. For all but

three of the tools, the Position 6 readings were at extremely dangerous levels in excess of 105









dBA. Oftentimes, workers operate in tight places or desire a closer view of their work, thus they

place their head very close to the tool. Consequently, Position 6 data are important in

considering the "worst-case scenario" of placing one's ear too close to the tool.

Loaded vs. Unloaded Conditions

In the Center-of-Room scenario, a select number of the tools were measured in loaded

conditions, operating in cutting mode on wood or tile material with new and worn blades to

compare noise level differences. The detail carver, belt sander, wet tile saw, and circular saw

were all tested under loaded conditions. Consistently, noise level measurements were

significantly higher under load due to the cutting of material and/or the type or condition of the

blade. Referring to Figures 4.2 and 4.3 for the circular saw and belt sander, respectively,

operating under load resulted in at least a 50% increase in noise. In addition, a worn blade,

instead of a normal condition blade, on the circular saw had the dramatic effect of increasing the

decibel level by 5.8 dBA. Both the circular saw and belt sander were operating on a Southern

Pine 2x4 wood stud. Operating the belt sander in loaded condition increased the Position 5 noise

reading by 1.5 dBA, and using the circular saw (with a normal condition blade) to cut the wood

stud increased the measurement by 4.7 dBA. Using the wet tile saw to cut an 18" porcelain floor

tile caused the Position 5 noise reading to greatly increase by 8 dBA, from 98.2 dBA (unloaded)

to 106.2 dBA (loaded). The Position 6 reading (loaded) was 117.5 dBA, the highest noise level

of any of the tools measured.

Effect of Different Work Scenarios on Measurements

Corner-of-Room

Only in this scenario did Position 2 (which along with Position 4 was the least noisy

position in the other scenarios) show the highest noise levels of any of the lateral positions. This

was due to the positioning of the tool, with its front pointing directly into the corner of the two









intersecting walls. As a result of bouncing sound waves off these walls, Position 2 recorded

levels far higher than Positions 1-4 of other scenarios, ranging between 1.6 and 3.7 dBA higher

when comparing average noise levels for each position (Appendix B). The greatest difference

was between Position 2 of this scenario and the same Position 2 recorded in the Center-of-Room.

Comparing Position 5 (Corner-of-Room) to Position 5 (Center-of-Room) resulted in a 0.9 dBA

(i.e. 30% higher noise level) from the Corner-of-Room scenario.

Near-a-Wall

Surprisingly, noise levels from this scenario were not higher, on average, than those

recorded in the Center-of-Room. ( Appendix B for measurement data for this scenario).

Around-the-Corner

Comparing the noise measurement data for this scenario with the measurements from

Position 5 (a comparable location) of the Center-of-Room scenario, there was a loss of 11.3 dBA

(i.e. 93% drop in noise) because of the tool being placed on the opposite side of a wall at a

relative distance of five feet away. The distance probably explains about 2-3 dBA of the drop, if

one considers the decrease in decibels found in the At-a-Distance measurements. That would

leave about 8-9 dBA of the drop to be explained by the wall's presence and its material

composition, which in this case was concrete.

Two Tools in Combination

It was surprising to discover that two tools operating in combination produced a sound

level that exceeded the noisiest of the two tools, by as much as 3 dBA ( Table 4.5).

Theoretically, when two noise sources are combined, the sound energy is additive and can

be expressed by the formula: L = 10 x logo (Li / 1010 + L2 / 1010 + L3 / 1010 + ....).

For example, if a sound source of 80 dB was combined with a sound source of 85dB, the









resulting sound pressure level would be: 10 x logo (108 + 10 8) = 86.2dB. The difference of

5dB, when combined in this case, would theoretically add 1.2dB to the highest sound source.

Table 4.4 was produced from data provided by the 1980 Geneva World Health Organization's

Environmental Health Criteria Report, giving the calculated decibel level combinations for

various sound differences between two sources.

Table 4.4 Theoretical Increase in Sound Levels When Combining Two Sound Sources
Difference Between Higher and dB to Add to Higher Intensity Sound
Lower Intensity Sound Source Source To Arrive at Combined
(dB) Intensity Level
0.0 3.0
1.0 2.5
2.0 2.0
5.0 1.2
10.0 0.5


Not all of the position readings for the power tools run in combination produced a net

increase in noise that precisely matched the formula calculations; however, most observed

increases were close to the calculated value. For example, the wet tile saw and circular saw

combination produced an observed reading of 98.5 dBA in Position 1, a difference of 2.1 dBA

when compared to the wet tile saw (the loudest of the pair) operating alone. This observation is

consistent with the calculated theoretical difference (from the formula above) of 2.2 dB.

Combining the circular saw and belt sander produced (as an average of all six position readings),

a 0.90 dBA increase in noise level over the belt sander, the noisiest of the two. This increase is

also close to the theoretical increase of 1.1 dB, using the formula calculation. It is interesting to

note that both the formula and the observed readings confirm that the greater the difference

between the two tools' noise levels, the smaller the increase in the combined noise level.











Table 4.5 Noise Measurements for Two Tools in Combination


TOOL
COMBINATION


Circular Saw
Black & Decker
7390 -separately

Belt Sander
1 Sears 315.11721
-separately


COMBINATION


Circular Saw
Black & Decker
7390
-separately

2 Wet Tile Saw
Husky THD950L
-separately


COMBINATION


Belt Sander
Sears 315.11721
-separately

Wet Tile Saw
3 Husky THD950L
-separately


COMBINATION


Detail Carver
Ryobi DC500
-separately

Die Grinder
4 Sears 315.27440
-separately


COMBINATION


POSITION
1


POSITION 2


94.7



100.2


100.6




94.7


POSITION
3


95.3



100.5


100.9




96.1


100.7




95.3


POSITION 4


95.3



100.4


102.0




95.3


POSITION POSITION
5 61


95.5



100.5


106.4



112.6


111.3
102.2 .
(at midpoint)


106.4


112.1


98.5



100.2



96.4



100.7


98.2



98.1



97.3



101.4


98.2



100.5



96.1



100.7


99.4



100.4



95.2



100.3


101.6



100.5



97.9



102.1


102.6
(at midpoint)



112.6



112.1



105.4
(at midpoint)


73.6



84.6


84.0









Effect of Distance on Noise Level

Figures 4.4 and 4.6 point to a reducing rate of reduction in noise levels as the readings are

taken further from the source. For example, the difference in readings between Position 6, at the

source, and Position 5 two feet away from the source is larger than the difference between

Position 5 (two feet away) and Positions 1-4 (three feet away). These observations confirm the

inverse-square law of physics which indicates a more rapid dispersion of sound waves in the first

few feet than in each incremental foot thereafter. According to the law, outdoor sound pressure

wave levels drop by half as the distance from the source doubles (this law is not applicable

indoors because of reverberations of walls and from objects). The acoustical inverse-square is

dBdistance 2 dBdistance 1 x distance1 x 1/distance2. This linear formula only applies over

moderate distances, however. As the distance away from the source is increased further, the rate

of noise reduction diminishes, as demonstrated by the observed measurements shown in Figure

4.5. Over long distances the noise level reduction is logarithmic and is expressed by the formula:

dBdistance 2 = 20 x logo distance1 / distance2).

The measurements in Figure 4.6 generally conform to the theoretical line drawn from the

formula calculations up to about 30 feet. For example, the tools dropped, on average, 3.2 dBA as

the distance increased from 20 to 30 feet. According to the formula, the drop in sound intensity

should have been 20 x logo (20feet/30feet) = 3.52 dB. As the distance got beyond 30 feet, most

of the observed noise levels deviated from the theoretical line, probably because of interference

from the varying levels of outdoor ambient noise and because the measurements were taken in

dBA instead of dB. However, nearly all of the measurements for each tool illustrated the

formula's logarithmic relationship between noise level and distance.














2.





1.56 --







0.5



0-
3 to 4 feet 4 to 6 feet 6 to 8 feet
Increase in Distance from Tool


- Planer

- Finishing Sander

- Wet Tile Saw

Router


Die Grinder

-- Reciprocating Saw

Handsaw

Cordless Drill


Figure 4.5 Change in Noise Reduction (Indoors)


10 -20ft 20-3


0ft 30-40ft 40-5
Distance from tool

-- Planer Die Grinder
Finishing Sander Handsaw
Router Belt Sander
OCrcular Saw


Figure 4.6 Change in Noise Reduction (Outdoors)


7
65
6
5.5
5
4.5
4
I35
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0


Oft


50-60ft









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

The results of this study are consistent, in most aspects, and go beyond prior research in

this area of power tool noise. Like past studies, this study found indications that the Corner-of-

Room scenario produced higher noise levels when compared to Center-of-Room readings. This

study also found evidence to confirm that noise levels behind the tool were lower than some

other locations, although it disagreed that noise is lowest behind the tool (the least noisy location

was found to be in front of the tool, except in the Corner-of-Room scenario). It also confirmed

that the position of the operator is crucial in affecting the received decibel level, and that tools

emanate dramatic fluctuations in noise rather than a narrow range. Finally, this study confirmed

that power tool noise drops off quicker outdoors than it does indoors.

The tendency in prior efforts to measure power tool noise levels was to focus on the

science and accuracy of measuring sound in the environment that is most conducive to sound

measurement an anechoic sound chamber. However, this misses the point of measuring power

tool noise. The objective is to ensure the preservation of the construction worker's hearing;

therefore, noise measurements need to be both practical and scientific. This study has attempted

to determine the most appropriate answer to the question a construction worker might ask, "For

the most common situations I encounter in daily work, what is the noise level my ears will

receive from my power tools?" When this answer is known, the workers can best determine the

needed noise reduction rating for their hearing protection.

Determinants of Power Tool Noise Levels

Distance

Sound disburses rapidly and noise drops precipitously in the first two feet away from the

outer casing of tools, so workers must keep their heads outside this distance range while









operating their power tools. In this study, Position 5 (simulating the position of the construction

worker's head at two feet above the tool) was on average 0.6 dBA higher (20% noisier) than the

average of Positions 1-4, at three feet away. Outdoors, noise reverberates off other objects

much less, and this study found that, for all tools tested, noise drops to below the harmful 85

dBA level within the first 10 feet.

Environment

This study's Two-Tools-in-Combination scenario showed that two tools operating close to

each other act in combination to produce a noise level that is, on average, 1.3 dBA higher (44%

noisier) than the noisiest tool's decibel level. Operating indoors produces more sound pressure

from sound waves bouncing off walls and objects, thereby resulting in less loss of sound as one

moves away from the tool.

Location of Tool

If the tool is placed in a corner of two intersecting solid walls, it is likely to produce higher

noise levels than if it were in the middle of a room or near just one wall. If a person is working

on the opposite side of a wall from a power tool but within about five feet, they are not likely to

need hearing protection since the results of this study indicated that the wall and distance

reduced the noise to an average 81 dBA. However, if there were multiple tools operating on the

opposite side of the wall, especially if the tools consisted of any combination of belt sander, wet

tile saw, circular saw, handsaw, or router, the noise level would probably be high enough to

necessitate hearing protection.

Position of Operator

It is not surprising that the closer one is to the noise source, the louder the sound is going

to be. What is important to note, however, is the severity level of the noise as an operator gets

within close range of the tool. Table 5.1 indicates that as the operator moves in from three feet









away to approximately two feet away from the tool at Position 5, the noise increases by 25% on

average. However, if the operator moves closer to the tool, the intensity of the noise increases

exponentially, as indicated by a nearly five-fold increase in noise hitting the ear if the worker's

head gets next to the tool's casing. This is what the operator has to avoid at all times, because

the noise levels next to the casing in this study ranged from 112-118 dBA for the loaded tests.

Table 5.1 Comparison of Noise Levels Within First Three Feet of Tool
Position 6 At-a-
n 6 Position 5 Difference Difference
(at tool's Distance (3 .
(dBA) tool's (approximately in Noise in Noise
outer feet from
cas ) 2 feet from tool) Level toLevel*
casing) tool)
Detail Carver 88.7 69.7 -19.0 69.9 0.2
Planer 111.3 94.8 -16.5 96.2 1.4
Die Grinder 100.7 83.8 -16.9 84.2 0.4
Belt Sander 113.6 99.9 -13.7 98.0 -1.9
Finishing Sander 104.2 93.9 -10.3 93.6 -0.3
Reciprocating Saw 103.6 90.1 -13.5 90.5 0.4
Wet Tile Saw 111.2 98.2 -13.0 96.8 -1.4
Circular Saw 110.6 96.7 -13.9 97.1 0.4
Handsaw 112.5 97.4 -15.1 98.2 0.8
Router 105.7 96.7 -9.0 95.0 -1.7
Cordless Drill 96.4 82.2 -14.2 75.8 -6.4
AVERAGE DROP
IN NOISE LEVEL
CHANGE IN
CNOISEI -470% -25%
NOISE
* Some tools actually increased instead of decreasing (as expected) in noise level from Position 5 (at 2 feet) to the
other positions 3 feet away. The reason is that some tools transmit more sound intensity above their casings
(towards the operator's ear at Position 5) than they do horizontally. As a result, comparing Position 5, which is 2
feet away but above the tool and not on the same lateral plane, with the other positions three feet away but to the
side of the tool, gives a false impression that noise is increasing as the distance increases.

Loaded vs. Unloaded

The limited testing under loaded conditions in this study revealed a dramatic increase in

noise from a tool operating under load versus one that is free-spinning (not loaded). More

testing should be done in this area because loaded conditions provide a more practical condition

under which workers operate.









Comparing This Study's Results with NIOSH Ratings

.The wide range of noise levels found for each tool under consideration confirms that

OSHA standards can easily be violated even when a power tool's NIOSH rating indicates a noise

level below 90 dBA. Appendix A summarizes the recent noise level ratings provided by

NIOSH, which measured over 130 power tools in a sound chamber and provided a single decibel

level for each tool in an attempt to give the construction industry a way to compare brands and

make it possible to "Buy Quiet" to reduce hearing loss.

The September, 2006 NIOSH tables recommend that hearing protection be worn by

workers whenever operating tools that produce a sound pressure level above 85 dBA. Many of

their tools, including drills, grinders, circular saws, jigsaws, and orbital sanders, were assigned a

single decibel rating of less than 85 dBA, thus being identified as being safe to use without

hearing protection. For example, their Makita 5277NB circular saw shows the lowest reading of

any of the 28 circular saws, at 83 dBA. The Porter Cable circular saw shows the highest sound

level of 103 dBA's. Is the Makita, therefore, safe to use without hearing protection?

Comparing the NIOSH information to the results of this thesis leads to the conclusion

that the government ratings may be misleading to those who think they are "buying quiet" based

on the tool's below 85 dBA rating. To arrive at their single value, NIOSH used multiple sound

level readings measured in an ANSI S12.15 approved sound chamber. While their sound

chamber measurements are probably more accurate than the measurements taken for this

research, the NIOSH measurements may be misleading. Their numbers may be precise, but

NIOSH merely used an averaging process to assign a single noise level for each tool, without

accounting for working conditions, loading conditions, and distance from the worker's ear to the

tool casing.









CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This thesis found that there is a wide range of possible noise levels for each power tool.

For instance, the Black and Decker circular saw had an enormous range of 20 dBA's, with the

highest reading of 115 dBA's felt if the worker was close to the saw's outer casing and used a

worn wood blade to cut a Southern Pine 2x4 stud. The lowest reading (95 dBA) was felt if the

worker merely ran the saw without cutting anything and was located behind the tool. Therefore,

it is possible that the Makita circular saw measured at below 85 dBA by NIOSH would emanate

in excess of 90 or even 95 dBA's under common conditions found on a construction worksite. It

is possible and even likely that all power tools violate OSHA noise limits under certain situations

and loading conditions.

NIOSH rated two of the identical model tools (identical manufacturer and model number)

measured in this thesis: the Bosch 1199VSR hammerdrill and the Milwaukee 6509 corded

reciprocating saw. It assigned a single decibel rating of 103 dBA's to the hammerdrill, placing it

fourth highest among the ten hammerdrills tested. This falls within the range of 92-114 dBA's

found in this thesis, with a range of 92-97 in Positionsl-5, depending on the scenario, and 114

dBA found at the tool's outer casing.

NIOSH rated the Milwaukee reciprocating saw at a sound pressure level of 90 dBA,

making it the "quietest" of the seven reciprocating saws they tested. This thesis found the same

saw to have a range of 15 dBA, from 89-104 dBA. The Position 1-5 readings ranged from 89-97

dBA, depending on the scenario, and 104 dBA at the tool's outer casing. This tool may be less

noisy than other reciprocating saws, but the single rating of 90 dBA severely underestimates the

projected noise under Position 1 of the Center-of-Room and Near-a-Wall scenarios as well as all

positions except directly behind the tool in the Corner-of-Room scenario. These specific study









comparisons clearly demonstrate how misleading a single noise level rating can be and why it is

important for workers to know the ways in which they can minimize the decibel level or

understand the conditions under which they need greater hearing protection.

It is recommended that more sound level testing be conducted on power tools to widen the

array of tools measured, as well as expand the discoveries of this study in the areas of:

* Loaded versus unloaded conditions

* Effects of different cutting blade designs on noise and how new designs might lower noise
levels;

* Effects of the wear conditions of cutting blades on noise levels;

* Further combinations of tools and the effects of combining multiple scenarios, such as a
Corner-of-Room situation with multiple tools being operated in close proximity;

* Effects of different materials used in constructing nearby walls, floors, and ceilings on the
noise levels measured under the different scenarios;

* Comparing decibel levels received at the tool operator's right versus left ear.

* Comparing decibel levels surrounding a power tool at various locations within a building,
where there are objects and walls potentially causing peaks in sound interference patterns
that increase the noise received by the operator.

It is also recommended that workers be made aware of the range of potential noise levels

they can be exposed to while operating their power tools in various construction situations.

Perhaps an awareness campaign including a simple one-page flyer, showing the range of decibels

for various common power tools with illustrations of the most common situations encountered

on the jobsite (e.g. Center-of-Room, Corner-of-Room, and Around-the-Corner) could be

distributed to workers.

Armed with data from this study and government agency studies, pressure needs to be

applied to power tool manufacturers (including their engineers and marketing executives) to

insert sound deadening insulation in tool casings. It is clear from this study that each tool has









unique features, in terms of the need for customized sound deadening depending on the side of

the tool from which noise emanates. Automobile engines and various fan motors have all

become much quieter in recent years due to customer demands. Likewise, purchasers need to

insist on tools with absolute decibel ranges less than 90 dBA, not just the "relatively quiet"

reciprocating saw whose decibel range is still dangerously high at 89-104 dBA. Position 5, or

behind and above the tool about two feet away, needs particular insulation focus, since this study

found high readings particularly at that location

There also needs to be developed an analytical tool, perhaps a computer simulation

program, for evaluating the different conditions and scenarios in which construction workers

operate power tools on the jobsite. Ideally, decibel values would be measured for every

incremental distance above, below and at angles to the tool, thereby encompassing all possible

locations where the operator's ear and the ears of nearby co-workers might be when the tool is

being operated. This three-dimensional "sphere" of noise values could be made available, as a

standard specifications sheet for each power tool, thereby giving workers and their supervisors a

comprehensive understanding of expected decibel levels given various conditions.










APPENDIX A
NIOSH: SOUND LEVELS FOR POWER TOOLS

The plots on the following charts indicate the A-weighted sound power level for tools

measured by NIOSH in its laboratory, with the model number given for each manufacturer

tested. NIOSH stated the purpose for providing the plots as follows: "Tools with a lower sound

power level pose less of a noise hazard than tools with a higher sound power level." These data

plot charts are provided as a courtesy of NIOSH.


Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Circular Saws


110r


m 105


4-
'- 100
m


a
_ 95





U)


6'37O-20' CSBis21
F81300CS DW364 E550
DW384 57 637-2 R3200
6057KB 6378
DW368 C7SB2 N
CS20 DW369 420N
6007FK 743
DW378G 6390-20
5277NB 34


85

00-'~
'94


<-p4~Q~


Manufacturers









p


Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Drills


These tools were tested in the
unloaded condition in accordance
with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


0375-1


DR501
DR211


DW130

DW235G


D13VF


RAD45KUL


0299-20
6408 0302-20
0300-20


D10VH


6303H


/ /
/
cz, 0' /
o" C;r

$~a


Manufacturers


aoson


6265


e,
rl









Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Grinders


These tools were tested in the
unloaded condition in accordance
with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


1752G7


1752


DW818
DW402
DW400


G18MR


1700
1700A


6154-20
6156-20
9527NB MG83250068-


G12SR2
G12SE2


t
0sa


'9


e


I


P1m
IIfy


Lo~ons


7430


105


.-J

100






I0
rc
'o





1-0
S- 95


0

a.
o
O0
C--
o


R1000


AG401

AG451


9


,5;"


e








Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Hammer Drills


Slosn


FS6000HD 11236VS W5
11224VSR DH24PE
DH24PE


t
<9


49`a


Manufacturers


p.
7 V
'I;


0 115
4-
CD
S110


00
M-

> 100
--

95
-0
C9
U) 90


e


6i,
62
d










rF,
" 'p F


Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Jig Saws


These tools were tested in the
unloaded condition in accordance
with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


JS600


DW318


2T1osna


6266-22


1590EVSK


4380


6-S


yCC


Manufacturers










Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Miter Saws


&os


DW706
MS250
These tools were tested in the
loaded condition in accordance
with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


0


MS1015AUL


e


Manufacturers


105I


0InS.


c)
C1
< 100
'0
r


M2501W
M3052LW


C10FCE


1)

3 90
a)
40
-0
C
U)


4


,~""









Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Orbital Sanders


zMc!~s


These tools were tested in the
loaded condition in accordance
with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


B04552


SV12SG


RS280VS


FS540


1295DVS


MS700G


DW411


DW421


R2500

R2610


RS2418


FS350


CFS1501


MS500K
MS550GB


e


0I


N


0\
Cla


Manufacturers


C090



(- 85
<

o8
_I 80


ct-N
\1
Qj


rkm'97









Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Reciprocating Saws


These tools were tested in the
unloaded condition in accordance
with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


105



-I-

e 100
'o
4(-


Cs


CR13V


DW309K

DW308M


Ip


9750


R3000


6537-22 9741
9747
6521-21
6509-22
16519-22


JR3030T 6524-21


'p
9


90


Manufacturers


ri


RS5


RJI6lsVK









Sound Power Level
For Various Models of Screw Drivers


These tools were tested in the
unloaded condition in accordance
94 with ANSI S12.15 and ISO 3744.


DW272


W6V3


DW257

DW268


0'


CMkosAn


Manufacturers


10Fm


1-i
S93

o0 92
4-
l 91
00
- 90
iD
(D
_I 89
s-
0 88
0-
C 87
0
U)
86


t
t










APPENDIX B
NOISE MEASUREMENT DATA

The following tables provide all the noise measurements taken for each scenario described

in chapter 2 of this thesis.



TECHNICAL RATED SPEED
TYPE MANUFACTURER MODEL TYPE
SPECS. (RPM)

Sears Craftsman 3/8" Chuck 2.5 Amp Variable Speed
315.10042 Corded 0-1200 RPM

Drill/Driver Ryobi P206 2" Chuck 18 Volt Variable Speed
Cordless 0-1300 RPM

DeWalt DC900 %" Chuck 36 Volt Variable Speed
Cordless 0-1600 RPM

Bosch 1199VSR 2" / %" 8.5 Amp Variable Speed
Ha r D l Chuck 0-3000 RPM
Hammer DrillCorded

Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 Type 7-1/4" 9 Amp Wood Blade
Circular Saw ____________3________ 150 Teeth
3 150 Teeth
Jig Saw Skil 4395 n/a Variable Orbit Variable Speed
Jig Saw 3.2 Amp 0-3200 SPM
DeWalt DC330 Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed
0-3000 SPM
Reciprocating DeWalt DW938 Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed
Saw 0-2800 SPM
Saw
Milwaukee 6509 Corded 4 Amp Variable Speed
__0-2400 SPM
Black and Decker SC500 Corded 3.4 Amp Variable Speed
Type 1 1 0-6500 SPM
Sears Craftsman 9" 2 HP 4600 RPM
ander Grinder/Sander 315.115051 13 Amp
Sears Craftsman 3" 7 Amp Belt Size
Belt Sander 315.11721 3" x 21"
Makita B04550 n/a 1.6 Amp 14000 OPM
Finishing Sander
Grinder Sears Craftsman n/a 2.5 Amp 26,500 RPM
Grnder315.27440
Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L 7" Blade 8 Amp 7000 RPM
Rour Black and Decker 7616 Type n/a 5 Amp 23000 RPM
Router

Planer Hitachi 370W Electric 3.4 Amp 15000 RPM
Ryobi DC500 n/a 40 Watt 2-Speed
Detail Carver 10,400 / 12500
____ __ SPM










TYPE


Drill/Driver


U U


MANUFACTURER


Sears


MODEL | PHOTO |


Craftsman
315.10042


Ryobi P206


DeWalt


DC900


Bosch 1199VSR


Hammer Drill




Black & Decker 7390
Type 3

Circular Saw




Skil 4395


Jig Saw


I I









DeWalt DC330


Jig Saw



DeWalt DW938




Reciprocating
Saw
Milwaukee 6509







Black and Decker SC500
S Type 1


Sander


Sears
Grinder / Sander


Craftsman
315.115051


Sears Craftsman
Belt Sander 315.11721


Makita
Finishing Sander


B04550


U U U -








I I -


Grinder


Sears


Craftsman
315.27440 I


Husky THD950L

Wet Tile Saw



Black and Decker 7616
Type 1

Router



Hitachi 370W


Planer


Detail Carver


Ryobi


DC500


All the tables that follow include noise measurement data for specific locations

surrounding the power tools and are referred to as "positions". Use the diagram below as a key

for where each position reading was taken. When standing behind the tool, looking forward:

Position 1 was located directly right of the tool three feet;
Position 2 was located directly in front of the tool three feet;
Position 3 was located directly left of the tool three feet;


rm-











* Position 4 was located directly behind the tool three feet;
* Position 5 was located above and approximately 15 degrees from azimuth behind the
tool, at a distance of two feet from the tool;
* Position 6 was located next to the tool's outer casing at a point around the tool that
indicated the maximum noise reading on the sound meter; and
* Position 7 was used exclusively for the Around-the-Corner measurement scenario,
located on the other side of a concrete wall as per figure 2.5.


ABOVE








TOOL


POSITION 6
POSITION 1


OPERATOR


BEHIND TOOL


/ GROUND SURFACE
FRONT OF TOOL (Reflective Plane)


POSITION 4


......................................


POSITION 3




POSITION 7
(around the corner)













Corner of Room Noise Measurements (in decibels)

POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION RANGE OF
TOOL
1 2 3 4 5 MEASUREMENTS

1 Detail Carver 73.0 69.7 68.4 69.6 73.1 70-73
Ryobi DC500
Planer
2 Planer 98.8 97.5 96.7 93.9 97.1 94-99
Hitachi F-20A

3 Die Grinder 86.4 86.1 89.7 83.2 85.5 83-90
Sears 315.27440

4 Sander/Grinder 103.0 104.0 104.3 103.9 104.7 103-105
Sears 315.115051

5 Belt Sander 99.6 100.2 98.5 98.5 100.4 99-100
Sears 315.11721

6 Finishing Sander 93.7 94.1 93.7 92.4 95.7 92-96
Makita B04550
Jigsaw
7 Skil4395 96.6 97.1 96.7 96.7 97.5 97-98

8 Cordless Jigsaw 96.0 96.7 95.4 96.3 96.4 95-97
DeWalt DC330 18V *

9 Cordless Reciprocating Saw 94.9 93.6 93.4 93.2 95.4 93-95
DeWalt DW938 18V *

10 Reciprocating Saw 91.3 91.1 90.4 89.4 91.5 89-92
Milwaukee 6509

11 Wet Tile Sa 98.6 97.5 96.3 96.8 97.7 96-99
Husky THD950L

12 Circular Sa7 96.8 98.2 96.3 95.5 99.4 96-99
Black & Decker 7390

13 Handsaw 98.3 98.4 97.3 96.5 98.4 97-98
Black & Decker SC500

14 Router 95.6 95.7 95.6 94.1 96.9 94-97
Black & Decker 7616

15 Cordless Drill 76.2 76.7 75.5 75.8 76.6 76-77
Ryobi P206 18V *
Cordless Drill
16 Cordless Drill 82.5 91.8 94.3 81.3 82.4 81-94
DeWalt DC900 36V *
Corded Drill
17 red Drll 91.7 91.8 92.7 91.1 93.1 91-93
Sears 315.10042

18 Ha1merdrill 96.6 96.8 96.3 96.6 96.4 96-97
Bosch 1199VSR
Cordless tools batteries were approximately 75% charged.










Near a Wall Noise Measurements (in decibels)


POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION RANGE OF
TOOL
1 2 3 4 5 MEASUREMENTS

1 Detail Carver 70.1 67.3 67.2 69.8 70.6 67-71
Ryobi DC500

2 Planer 94.8 94.2 94.9 96.3 96.5 94-97
Hitachi F-20A

3 Die Grinder 82.9 81.7 82.2 82.9 84.1 82-86
Sears 315.27440

4 Sander/Grinder 100.6 98.7 101.0 98.9 100.4 99-101
Sears 315.115051

5 Belt Sander 98.3 98.0 98.8 97.7 99.4 98-99
Sears 315.11721

6 Finishing Sander 92.5 90.6 91.1 89.7 95.4 90-95
Makita B04550
Jigsaw
7 Skil4395 92.9 92.4 93.3 93.3 92.5 92-93

8 Cordless Jigsaw 92.6 91.9 92.8 92.0 92.0 92-93
DeWalt DC330 18V *

9 Cordless Reciprocating Saw 92.6 92.2 92.1 92.3 92.6 92-93
DeWalt DW938 18V *

10 Reciprocating Saw 90.7 89.8 89.4 89.6 90.2 89-91
Milwaukee 6509

11 Wet TileSaw 97.6 95.9 97.3 97.1 98.2 96-98
Husky THD950L

12 Circular Sa7 95.9 95.6 95.6 94.8 95.7 95-96
Black & Decker 7390

13 Handsaw 97.8 96.7 96.5 96.3 97.5 96-98
Black & Decker SC500

14 Router 96.3 93.9 93.9 94.6 97.1 94-97
Black & Decker 7616

15 Cordless Drill 75.3 72.4 73.0 73.5 76.3 72-76
Ryobi P206 18V *

16 Cordless Drill 77.8 77.0 77.8 77.3 78.5 77-79
DeWalt DC900 36V *
Corded Drill
17 rded Drll 87.3 88.5 88.1 88.0 88.1 87-89
Sears 315.10042

18 Hammerdrill 93.8 92.5 93.5 92.4 93.1 92-94
Bosch 1199VSR










Center of the Room Measurements (in decibels)


POSITION RANGE OF
POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION RANGEOF
TOOL 1 2 3 4 MEASURE
(Max.) MENTS


1 DetailCarver L: 85.7 L: 86.8 L: 88.9 L: 87.3 L: 93.4 L: 86-93
Ryobi DC500
__U: 69.9 U: 70.0 U:69.9 U: 67.5 U: 69.7 U: 88.7 U: 68-89
2 Planer 95.9 95.7 96.2 96.2 94.8 111.3 95-111
Hitachi F-20A
3 Die Grinder 82.4 82.9 84.2 83.5 83.8 100.7 82-101
Sears 315.27440
4 Sander/Grinder 103.8 102.5 102.9 103.2 103.6 110.8 103-111
Sears 315.115051
Belt Sander
Sears 315.11721 98.4 99.1 98.0 98.0 U: 99.9 U: 113.6 U:98-114
5
Loaded: 4
d w d s L: 101.4 L: 116.1
Sanding wood stud

6 FinishingSander 92.1 93.1 93.6 93.2 93.9 104.2 92-104
Makita B04550
7 Jigsaw 96.3 95.8 96.1 95.8 96.4 108.8 96-109
Ski1 4395
8 Cordless Jigsaw 95.6 94.1 94.9 94.4 95.8 106.7 94-107
DeWalt DC330 18V 1
9 Cordless 92.8 92.4 93.0 91.6 93.2 102.9 92-103
RecinrocatinP Saw
10 Reciprocating Saw 91.0 88.9 90.5 90.4 90.1 103.6 89-104
Milwaukee 6509
Wet Tile Saw
Husky THD950L 96.7 95.8 96.6 96.8 U: 98.2 U:111.2 U:96-111
11
Loaded:
oranTile L: 106.2 L: 117.5
Porcelain Tile
Circular Saw
Black & Decker 7390 96.1 95.0 97.1 95.7 U: 96.7 U: 110.6 U:95-111

12 Loaded: 2
12 Lmallade L: 101.4 L: 112.1
Normal Blade
Worn Blade L: 107.2 L: 114.5
13 Handsaw 97.2 96.3 98.2 97.6 97.4 112.5 96-113
Black & Decker SC500
14 Router 94.5 94.3 95.0 94.7 96.7 105.7 94-106
Black & Decker 7616
15 Cordless Drill
15 Cordless Drill 75.6 75.7 75.8 75.2 78.2 94.1 75-94
Rvobi P206 18V 1
16 Cordless Drill
16 CDeWalt DrC9 1 83.0 82.8 82.5 82.6 82.2 96.4 82-96
DeWalt DC900 36V 1
17 Corded Drill 92.1 91.3 92.2 92.0 91.5 103.9 91-104
Sears 315.10042
18 Hammerdrill 95.4 95.7 95.8 96.0 95.2 113.6 95-114
Bosch 1199VSR















Footnotes to Center-of-Room Measurements:


Cordless tools were at approximately 75% charged. DeWalt DC900 36V set at low speed.
Black & Decker 7390 circular saw was loaded with the following:
Normal Blade: a 150-tooth plywood blade in normal condition, cutting a Southern Pine premium-grade 2x4 stud.
Worn Blade: a 20-tooth fast-cut wood blade in worn condition, cutting the same Southern Pine premium grade 2x4
stud.
Husky THD 950L wet tile saw under loaded condition, cutting an 18" square porcelain tile using a 7" wet tile saw
blade in new condition.
Sears 3" Belt Sander under loaded condition, using #80 sandpaper on a Southern Pine 2x4 wood stud.
Position 6 is iust outside the outer casing of the tool at a point where the maximum decibel level was recorded.

Around-the-Corner from Tool Measurements (in decibels)


POSITION
TOOL
7
1 Detail Carver 63.5
Ryobi DC500
2 Planer 88.3
Hitachi F-20A
3 Die Grinder 74.3
Sears 315.27440
4 Sander/Grinder 88.9
Sears 315.115051
5 Belt Sander 90.8
Sears315.11721
6 Finishing Sander 84.2
Makita B04550
7 Jigsaw 80.7
Skil 4395
8 Cordless Jigsaw 79.4
DeWalt DC330 18V *
9 Cordless Reciprocating Saw 80.5
DeWalt DW938 18V *
10 Reciprocating Saw 81.2
Milwaukee 6509
1 Wet Tile Saw 88.5
Husky THD950L
12 Circular Saw 88.2
Black & Decker 7390
13 Handsaw 88.6
Black & Decker SC500
14 Router 87.2
Black & Decker 7616
15 Cordless Drill 67.6
Ryobi P206 18V *
16 Cordless Drill 65.1
DeWalt DC900 36V *
17 Corded Drill 76.0
Sears 315.10042
18 Hammerdrill 81.3
Bosch 1199VSR











Two Tools in Combination (in decibels)

TOOL POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION POSITION
COMBINATION 1 2 3 4 5 61



Circular Saw 94.7 96.1 95.3 95.3 95.5 106.4
Black & Decker 7390
-separately

1 Belt Sander
Sears 315.11721 100.2 98.1 100.5 100.4 100.5 112.6
-separately

COMBINATION1 100.6 100.9 100.7 102.0 102.2 111.3
(at midpoint)


Circular Saw 94.7 96.1 95.3 95.3 95.5 106.4
Black & Decker 7390
-separately

2 Wet Tile Saw
Husky THD950L 96.4 97.3 96.1 95.2 97.9 112.1
-separately

COMBINATION1 98.5 98.2 98.2 99.4 101.6 102.6
(at midpoint)


Belt Sander 100.2 98.1 100.5 100.4 100.5 112.6
Sears 315.11721
-separately

3 Wet Tile Saw
Husky THD950L 96.4 97.3 96.1 95.2 97.9 112.1
-separately

COMBINATION1 100.7 101.4 100.7 100.3 102.1 105.4
(at midpoint)

DetailCarver 71.7 70.6 71.3 70.0 73.6 93.6
Ryobi DC500
-separately

4
Die Grinder 82.2 82.3 83.2 83.2 84.6 96.6
Sears 315.27440
-separately

COMBINATION1 82.7 83.1 83.9 83.4 84.0 97.5
1 1 1 1 r 1 i _* 1 1 1 1 1 ^ -- i 1 - i -- ,- L i


Position 6 measured the max mum decibel level observed at the outer casing of the p



4, the midpoint was 1 inch between the tools.













Measurements at a Distance from Tools Indoors (in decibels)


TOOL

Detail Carver
Ryobi DC500
Planer
Hitachi F-20A
Die Grinder
Sears 315.27440
Belt Sander
Sears 315.11721
Finishing Sander
Makita B04550
Reciprocating Saw
Milwaukee 6509
Wet Tile Saw
Husky THD950L
Circular Saw
Black & Decker 7390
Handsaw
Black & Decker SC500
Router
Black & Decker 7616
Cordless Drill
Ryobi P206 18V *
AVERAGE DECREASE IN
NOISE (in decibels)


Distance
of 3 feet

69.9

96.2

84.2

98.0

93.6

90.5

96.8

97.1

98.2

95.0

75.8


Distance
of 4 feet

68.4

95.2

82.8

97.2

92.7

88.8

95.4

96.1

95.9

93.1

73.6


Decrease
in
Decibels

1.0

1.0

1.4

0.8

0.9

1.7

1.4

1.0

2.3

1.9

2.2

1.42


Distance Decrease
in
of 6 feet Decibels


67.5

94.1

81.2

96.2

91.9

87.3

94.2

95.2

94.6

92.4

72.6


0.9

1.1

1.6

1.0

0.8

1.5

1.2

0.9

1.3

0.7

1.0

1.09


Distance Decrease
in
of 8 feet Decibels


64.3

93.8

80.3

95.0

91.5

86.6

93.1

93.1

93.8

91.7

71.9


3.2

0.3

0.9

1.2

0.4

0.7

0.9

2.1

0.8

0.7

0.7

1.08


Readings were the highest measured around the tool at the indicated distance. All tools were unloaded and located in
the center of the enclosed room.











Measurements at a Distance from Tools


Reading at Decrease Decrease
TOOL Outer 10' 20' De e 30' De e 40' De e 50' 40 to 60' 50 to
10 to 20ft. 20 to 30ft. 30 to 40ft.
Casing 50ft. 60ft.

Detail Carver
1 l C 92.9 58.8 51.3 7.5 50.2 1.1 49.6 0.6 48.0 1.6 48.0 0.01
Ryobi DC500

Planer
2 113.9 83.0 75.8 7.2 72.0 3.8 71.8 0.2 69.7 2.1 67.5 2.2
Hitachi F-20A

Die Grinder
3 DGr r 95.1 70.2 64.4 5.8 60.8 3.6 58.8 2.0 57.1 1.7 56.3 0.8
Sears 315.27440

Belt Sander
5 Be anr 111.0 83.3 77.5 5.8 74.4 3.1 71.5 2.9 70.3 1.2 69.4 0.9
Sears 315.11721


6 Finishing Sander 106.1 82.5 75.3 7.2 72.1 3.2 70.3 1.8 69.7 0.6 69.1 0.6
Makita B04550

Circular Saw
12 Black & Decker 104.3 77.7 71.5 6.2 68.3 3.2 66.2 2.1 65.0 1.2 63.7
7390
Handsaw
13 Black & Decker 110.3 83.5 77.3 6.2 73.6 3.7 72.0 1.6 69.6 2.4 68.6 1.0
SC500
Router
14 Black & Decker 107.4 77.2 71.9 5.3 68.4 3.5 66.7 1.7 65.1 1.6 63.5 1.6
7616
AVERAGE
DECREASE IN 6.4 3.2 1.6 1.5 1.1
NOISE (in

The ambient noise (power tool turned off) at the time this tool's noise reading was taken, was 48.1, which accounts for the no further decreases in sound after 40
ft. This skewed (underestimated) the average calculation for all the change readings from 50 to 60ft. by 0.1 dBA.


Outdoors (in decibels)










LIST OF REFERENCES


AFSCME. (1997). Noise, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, accessed
on October 3, 2006.http://www.afscme.org/publications/2887.cfm

Cai, J., Chennagowni, S., Coombs, D., Giachetto, R.M., and Kulkami, P. (2003). Study and Control
of Noise from Power Tools, University of Cincinnati Acoustics.

Callahan, G. (2004). Noise Levels of Common Construction Power Tools, Thesis Presented to the
Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Masters of Science, University of Florida.

Center for the Advancement of Health (2001). Noise-induced Hearing Loss: Common Condition
Easily Prevented, Facts of Life, Vol. 6, No. 5, July-August.

Elgun, S. (1999). Noise and Vibration Hazards, Unpublished Occupational Safety Topics,
Farmingdale State University of New York, accessed on October 3, 2006.
http://info.lu.farmingdale.edu/depts/met/ind308/noise.html

Fouts, B.E. II (2002). Investigation into Testing Methods and Noise Control of Industrial Power
Tools, Thesis Submitted to the Division of Research and Advanced Studies of the University of
Cincinnati in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science in the
Department of Mechanical Engineering of the College of Engineering, University of Cincinnati.

Harris, M. (2006). Noise Measurement and Analysis in Construction Management, Unpublished
research paper, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Hough, D. (2005). Do You Hear What I Hear?, Now Hear This!, accessed on October 3, 2006.
http://www.plugup.com/doyouhear.php

ISO Standard 1999 (1990). Acoustics Determination of occupational noise exposure and estimation
of noise-induced hearing impairment International Organization for Standardization, CH-1211
Geneva 20, Switzerland.

Keith, R. (1981). Noise control for buildings, manufacturing plants, equipment and products,
Houston, Texas: Hoover & Keith.

Kelso, D. and Perez, A. (2006). Noise Control Terms Made Somewhat Easier, Noise Pollution
Clearinghouse, accessed on October 3, 2006.http://www.nonoise.org/librarv/diction/soundict.htm

Laborer's (2006). Best Practices Guide Controlling Noise on Construction Sites, Laborer's Health
and Safety Fund of North America, accessed on October 13, 2006
http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?objectid=FE76D86F-D56F-E6FA-99A606116D8792FC

Laborer's Health and Safety Fund of North America (2002). The Building and Construction Trades
Department of the AFL-CIO Response to OSHA's Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on
Hearing Conservation in Construction, accessed on October 3, 2006.
http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?obiectid=BC342716-D56F-E6FA-93DD04583CC7F48F










Laborer's Health and Safety Fund of North America (2005). Hearing Conservation Squelched at
OSHA, accessed on October 3, 2006.http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?objectid=B9D2DB7D-D56F-
E6FA-906591BF1CA7663B

London Construction Now! (2006). National: New Noise R ghi,,i, Will Cut Level by 70%, Health
& Safety Executive, accessed on 10/13/2006.
http://www.contructionnow.co.uk/london/dailvnews.asp?week=03/04/2006

NIOSH (2006). Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Workplace Solutions, National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health, accessed on October 13, 2006.
http://www2a.cdc.gov/niosh-powertools/qryTools alt.asp?manufacturer

NIOSH (1996). Criteria for a Recommended Standard Occupational Noise Exposure, National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Revised Criteria, DHHS(NIOSH) draft document 96-
XXX. Washington, D.C.

NIOSH (1998). Criteria for a Recommended Standard Occupational Noise Exposure, National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Revised Criteria, Pub. No. 98-126, Washington, D.C.

Neitzel, R. and Seixas, N. (2006). Noise on the Job Can Damage Your Hearing: Tilesetters,
Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH), accessed on October
3, 2006.http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/docs/d0700/d000709/d000709.html

Neitzel, R., Seixas, N., Camp, J., and Yost, M. (1999). An Assessment of Occupational Noise
Exposures in Four Construction Trades, American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, Vol. 60,
pgs. 807-817.

NPC (2004). NPC Resources: Massachusetts Big Dig Noise Control Law, Noise Pollution
Clearinghouse, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Section 721.560, Construction Noise Control
http://www.nonoise.org/resource/construc/bigdig.htm

OSHA (2002). Hearing Conservation Program for Construction Workers, Department of Labor,
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 29 CFR
Part 1926. Docket No. H-011G.

Price, G.R. and Kalb, J.T. (1991). Insights into Hazards from Intense Impulses from a Mathematical
Model of the Ear, J. of Acoustical Soc. Am., Vol. 90, pgs. 219-227.

Smoorenburg, G.F., de Laat, J.A. and Plomp, R. (1982). The Effect of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
on the Intelligibility of Speech in Noise, Scandinavian Audiology, Supplementum 16, pgs. 123-133.

Smoorenburg, G.F. (1992). Speech Reception in Quiet and in Noisy Conditioins by Individuals with
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Relation to Their Tone Audiogram, The Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America, 91(1), pgs. 421-437.

EPA (1976). About Sound, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

Winston, S. (2000). OSHA Plans to Design Hearing Rules for Construction Industry,
Engineering News Record, Vol. 244, No. 14, Pg. 31.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

John Nickels is a Master of Science and Master of Business Administration candidate at

the University of Florida. His Bachelor of Science degree in finance was obtained from the

University of Florida in 1984. His first career was in private banking and investments. He has

been licensed as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) since 1994 and was licensed as a registered

investment representative through the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) for

over 10 years. He worked for four of the nation's largest financial institutions, most recently as

Managing Director of Northern Trust Bank of Florida. He is currently employed in the area of

bank oversight, as a Financial Institution Specialist with the Federal Deposit Insurance

Corporation (FDIC). His studies at the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction leading

to the M.S. degree rounded out his personal interest in real estate development, as he spent so

much of his career handling the financial side of real estate transactions but never understanding

the means and methods by which buildings are constructed. His research into the safety aspects

of construction was spawned by his work as an assistant superintendent at a large residential

construction jobsite. He perceived a lack of understanding and awareness of the harmful impacts

of high noise levels on the hearing of construction workers. He found a general lack of data to

aid in the reduction of noise levels, in particular, of commonly found power tools.





PAGE 1

1 VARIATION IN NOISE MEASUREMENTS OF POWER TOOLS USED IN CONSTRUCTION By JOHN A. NICKELS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

PAGE 2

2 2007 John A. Nickels

PAGE 3

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS page LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........5 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................6 LIST OF TERMS.............................................................................................................................7 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................11 The Problem............................................................................................................................11 Measuring Noise................................................................................................................ .....12 Motivation for This Research................................................................................................. 13 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................15 Hearing Loss...........................................................................................................................15 Hearing Protection..................................................................................................................17 OSHA Standards.....................................................................................................................19 Regulatory Challenges.......................................................................................................... ..21 Previous Studies of Power Tools............................................................................................ 22 Shortcomings of Laboratory Testing...................................................................................... 24 3 RESEARCH METHODS.......................................................................................................25 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..........25 Power Tools Selected for Measurement................................................................................. 26 Sound Instrumentation.......................................................................................................... ..28 Noise Measurement Approach............................................................................................... 28 Scenarios...................................................................................................................... ...........29 Center-of-Room Placement of Tool................................................................................ 29 Tool Placement Near a Wall............................................................................................ 31 Corner-of-Room Placement of Tool................................................................................ 32 Tool Placement Around the Corner................................................................................. 33 Noise Levels at a Distance (indoors)............................................................................... 34 Two Tools in Combination.............................................................................................. 35 Noise Levels at a Distance (outdoors).............................................................................35 Limitations of Research..........................................................................................................35 4 RESULTS...............................................................................................................................37 Wide Range of Noise Levels.................................................................................................. 39

PAGE 4

4 Comparing Positions............................................................................................................ ...40 Loaded vs. Unloaded Conditions............................................................................................ 44 Effect of Different Work Scenarios on Measurements........................................................... 44 Corner-of-Room.............................................................................................................. 44 Near-a-Wall.................................................................................................................... .45 Around-the-Corner..........................................................................................................45 Two Tools in Combination.............................................................................................. 45 Effect of Distance on Noise Level..........................................................................................48 5 DISCUSSION.........................................................................................................................50 Determinants of Power Tool Noise Levels............................................................................. 50 Distance....................................................................................................................... ....50 Environment.................................................................................................................... 51 Location of Tool.............................................................................................................. 51 Position of Operator........................................................................................................ 51 Loaded vs. Unloaded.......................................................................................................52 Comparing This Studys Resu lts with NIOSH Ratings ..........................................................53 6 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................................................... 54 APPENDIX A NIOSH: SOUND LEVELS FOR POWER TOOLS............................................................... 57 B NOISE MEASUREMENT DATA.........................................................................................66 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................78 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................80

PAGE 5

5 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2.1 Examples of Decibel Levels of Various Sources............................................................... 18 2.2 OSHA Noise Exposure Limits for Construction Industry ................................................. 20 3.1. Power Tools Measured in This Study................................................................................ 26 4.1 Average Noise Measurements on Lateral Plane Positions 1 to 4................................... 42 4.2 Differences Between Each Position Reading and the Average for the Tool..................... 42 4.3 Positions 5 and 6 Measurements........................................................................................ 43 4.4 Theoretical Increase in Sound Leve ls W hen Combining Two Sound Sources................. 46 4.5 Noise Measurements for Two Tools in Combination........................................................ 47 5.1 Comparison of Noise Levels Within First Three Feet of Tool.......................................... 52

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6 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1. Average Decibels for Construction Trades........................................................................ 11 3.1 Sper Scientific Sound Meter..............................................................................................27 3.2. Center-of-Room Placement............................................................................................... 30 3.3 Tool Placement Near Wall................................................................................................. 31 3.4 Tool Placement at Corner of Room................................................................................... 32 3.5. Tool Placed Around the Co rner from Microphon e............................................................ 33 3.6. Noise Levels at a Distance.................................................................................................34 4.1 Noise Level Measurements for Selected Power Tools in th eir Unloaded Condition (except as noted).............................................................................................................. ..37 4.2 Noise Measurements for Black and Decker Circular Saw................................................ 39 4.3 Noise Measurements for Sears 3 Belt Sander................................................................. 40 4.4 Illustration of Various Positions for All Noise Measurements.......................................... 41 4.5 Change in Noise Reduction (Indoors)................................................................................49 4.6 Change in Noise Reduction (Outdoors).............................................................................49

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7 LIST OF TERMS Acoustics The physical qualities of a room, such as size, shape, amount of noise, that determine the audibility and perception of speech and music within the room (NPC, 2004). Decibels (dB) / A-weighted (dBA) A commonly used unit of sound measurement that uses one of three scales on a sound level mete r to measure intensity of sound pressure. Sound meters are graduated in decibe ls, using A, B, or C scales as specified by ANSI S1.4-1994 for sound level meters. The Aweighted scale is better at mimi cking the sensitivity of the human ear, which is less efficient at lo w and high frequencies than at medium or speech-range frequencies. The decibel scale is not linear; it is logarithmic. Every increase of 3-dB doubles the sound level received by the ear (NPC, 2004). Exchange Rate The amount of decibels that requires a workers exposure time to be cut in half. Because every 3-dB increase results in a doubling of noise exposure, OSHA has design ated limits on the amount of time a worker can be exposed to that increase. For example, a 3dB exchange rate requires that e xposure time be halved if noise increases by 3-dB (NIOSH, 1998). Hearing Loss The amount of hearing imp airment, in decibels, from a given benchmark at a particular frequency. There are three types of hearing loss: 1) Conductive, meaning from damage to the mechanical conductors in the ea r; 2) Sensor-neural, meaning damage within the cochlea that contains the nerve hairs that break when sound vibrations are too great; and 3) Noise-induced hearing loss, which is 100% preventable and is caused by excessive noise levels. Noise-i nduced hearing loss is the most common work-related co ndition (Center, 2001). NIOSH defined hearing impairment in 1972 as a hearing loss of in excess of 25 dBA from a given threshold level. With this, NIOSH assessed the risk of hearing impair ment as a function of levels and exposure time. They determined th at at average daily noise levels of 80 dBA, 85 dBA, and 90 dBA over a 40-year exposure period, there was a 3%, 16%, and 29%, resp ectively, added risk of hearing impairment over what would normally occur from other causes in the unexposed populat ion (NIOSH, 1996). Noise Any unnatural or unwanted s ound measured in the A-weighted scale (NPC, 2004).

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8 Noise Dosimeter A sound level meter with memory and computational functions. Since OSHA regulates the amount of noise exposure in a 24-hour time period, the dosimeter stores soun d levels that can later be used to compute the dose of noise exposure a worker receives during a workshift or other time period (the time-weighted average or TWA) (NIOSH, 1998). According to OSHA, exceeding a TWA of exposure to 85 dBA for 8 hours is hazardous. TWA is calculated as follows: TWA = 10 x Log(Noise Dose / 100) + 85 Noise Reduction Rating The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is an indicator, required by law on all hearing protectors, of th e devices ability to reduce the decibel level (dB) of incoming sound (NIOSH, 1998). Sound An auditory sensation evoked by th e variation in pressure waves in a medium such as air. Sound pressure is measured in decibels (NPC, 2004). Threshold Shift A decibel change in a workers ability to hear a specified frequency, as measured by comparing current audibility to a prior threshold. A reduction in hearing by more than 5dB warrants follow-up action. NIOSH defines a significant threshold shift as one that is at least 15 dB worse at any hearing frequency (NIOSH, 1998).

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science VARIATION IN NOISE MEASUREMENTS OF POWER TOOLS USED IN CONSTRUCTION By John A. Nickels December 2007 Chair: Jimmie Hinze Cochair: R. Raymond Issa Major: Building Construction Construction workers and their supervisors need accurate noise level information about their power tools and equipment, so they can ma ke appropriate decisions regarding the use of hearing protection. If they rely on unrealistic measurements of deci bel levels, they are in danger of contributing to permanent hearing loss. As the public becomes increasingly concerned about noise levels from construction worksites and me dical costs are increasing from hearing related claims, governments and industry leaders are incorporat ing noise limitations in their contracts. In addition, government agencies such as National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are attempting to address the need for st andardized noise measur ements of power tools and equipment, the most significan t contributors to noise on a jobsit e. However, the methods for measuring noise levels are sometimes unrealistic, resulting in inadequate ly protected workers regardless of the appearance of adequate hear ing protection in complia nce with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. What is needed and addressed in this rese arch is a more accurate understanding of the actual noise level reaching the workers ear when, for example, the worker is using a hammerdrill in a small enclosed environment while another worker is working alongside with a

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10 circular saw. In cases such as this, the commonly used method of measuring the decibel level of a single tool in a sound laboratory is unhelpful. The result is unf ortunate for the worker and any bystanders, who may be basing the noise reduction ratings of their hearin g protection devices on this unrealistic decibel rating.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Problem Occupationally induced hearing loss continue s to be one of the leading occupational illn esses in the United States. The National In stitute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 15% of the workers expo sed to noise levels of 85 dBA or higher will develop material hearing impairment. Research demonstrates that construction workers are regularly exposed to noise (Figure 1), and the so urce is primarily from tools and equipment. Studies have found widespread overexposure to no ise and a lack of h earing protection use on jobsites. Serious and deadly fa lls on construction sites may be related to noise induced balance dysfunction and impaired equilibrium. Figure 1-1. Average Decibels for Construction Trades Elevated noise levels pose an additional threat of inju ry or death to workers by compromising communication among them and their supervisors. Chronic exposure leads to the Source: Construction Safety Association of Ontario

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12 onset of permanent hearing loss that may not be no ticed for many years, as the hearing loss is so gradual that the worker does not notice until understanding speech becomes difficult like the old frog-in-boiling-water analogy. Noise-induced h earing loss is 100 % preventable, but there is no proven way to reverse it. Therefore, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposed rules on hearing c onservation for general industry. Measuring Noise Until recently, there we re little data on noise le vels for the most common tools used on construction sites. Tool manufact urers have been reluctant to pr ovide this information, and there have been few research papers on the subject. Nevertheless, industr y and regulators alike understand the need for reducing noise at the c onstruction worksite, and noise limit provisions are beginning to show up in construction contract s, which is forcing the need for more noise measurement and research in this area. R ecognizing the early but ri sing demand for quieter equipment, NIOSH is promoting Buy Quiet programs and responding to the need for a means to compare noise levels between products. NIOSH recently developed a database of noise level data for a wide variety of power tools, and in September, 2006, published its results. The data serves as a good start in the process of br inging awareness to the minds of workers and contractors of noise levels gene rated by their equipment, but the focus is on one decibel value that represents that noise leve l. The problem with using one value to measure the noise level centers around the complex nature of sound m easurement and the host of variables that determine the decibel level emanating from the tool. As a result, there is disagreement regarding the most appropriate method for determining a singl e noise level for a par ticular tool. Ideally, workers would want to accurately determine the noise level at the point the sound enters their ear canal, since audiologists have determined that sustained exposure to noise above 85 decibels will, over time, cause permanent damage. The louder the sound, the less time before hearing

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13 damage will occur. If workers know what the in coming noise level is, they can take action to shield their ears from damaging so und levels. However, there can be a major difference between the decibel reading at a particular tool (where the measurements are commonly taken) and the decibel reading at the ear, whic h is of considerable importance in understanding the potential for hearing loss. Motivation for This Research W ith the data that exist today, workers ar e utilizing a single d ecibel value that was measured in a sound laboratory from one tool and in isolation from other tools and sound reflecting objects. With this information of questionable accuracy, th ey are making decisions about wearing hearing protection and what noise reduction rating (NRR) is necessary. As a result, the true decibel level reaching their ears may be higher than they anticipate, and their hearing is not being adequately protected. The following factors can cause a sizable differe nce in the sound level, from the point of emanation to the point of entry in to the ear, where it really matters: Position of operators head relative to the tool Distance and direction of operato r and bystanders from the tool The environment in which the tool is operating The type of material being affected by the tool The motor of the tool and any at tached shielding or insulation Whether other noise sources are nearby Prior research has identified the range of possibilities and some of the effects of the above factors on sound levels of certain power tools, but a more comprehensive testing protocol is needed to determine the decibe l range a construction worker can expect to encounter in the operation of a wide variety of co mmonly used power tools. This investigation will address the issue by measuring the sound levels produced by saws, drills, sanders, and other commonly used power tools in different environm ents and conditions. The purpose is to provide a more accurate

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14 range of noise levels generated by each tool. Even a few decibels of difference from what workers are relying on today for their particular task, versus what is identified in this investigation as the actual noise level, could have a major impact on protec ting workers hearing. The reason is that changes in decibel levels are not linear; in fact, an increase of only three decibels represents a doubling of the noise picked up by the human ear. If workers know that the conditions in which they are working require additional hearing protection, hearing damage will be avoided.

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15 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Hearing Loss The perception of sound begins when vibration or turbulence causes pressure changes in the air (o r some other medium). These pressure changes produce vibrating waves that propagate away from the source in varying directions. So me of those pressure waves enter the ear canal and impact the cochlea, which contains tiny nerv e hairs within a type of hydraulic fluid that helps cushion the impact from noise shocks. Wh en the sound vibrations are too great, the hair cells initially swell, then break off causing reduced hearing perception. The time it takes for the cochlea hairs to break is a func tion of several factors (Elgun, 1999): Intensity or loudness of the sound pressure Duration of exposure during a day and over a lifetime Type of noise: long wave, short wave, impulse Distance from noise source Existing hearing disease, if any Age of individual The human ear is sensitive to specific s ound frequencies between 500 and 8000 cycles per second (Hz) of sound pressure. Hearing degradat ion occurs particularly at frequencies of 3000 to 6000 Hz. (Hough, 2005). A mild loss of hearin g would reduce hearing by about 10 decibels, while a significant loss is considered to be in excess of 20 decibels (Center, 2001). One of the first signs of noise-induced hearing loss is difficulty understandi ng certain mid-range frequencies. Typically, the person can still hear lower frequency vowels but certain higher frequency consonants (such as t, d, and s) sound like mumbling. The person might say, I hear you but I cant understand you. The insidious nature of hearing loss is the slow boil analogy in which hearing is reduced gradually (ove r years of time) from repeated overexposure. It must be understood that one can also get noise-induced hearing loss from a single exposure to

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16 a short burst of loud noise (Smoorenburg, 1992). I ndividuals have varying degrees of sensitivity to noise, so the effects of overexposure are not th e same for everyone. Nevertheless, noise is a significant health threat according to the World H ealth Organization. The director of the Noise Center at the League for the Hard of Heari ng, Nancy Nadler, stated, In general, sustained exposure to noise above 85 decibels, over time, will cause permanent hear ing loss and the louder the sound, the less time before hearing damage can occur. Studies have indicated that noise causes physiological changes in sleep, blood pre ssure, and digestion. OSHA states that exposure to some solvents, gases such as carbon monoxide, and even whole-body vibration may worsen noise-induced hearing loss. A 1999 study on noise exposure in four basic trad es of construction (carpenters, laborers, ironworkers, and operating engineer s) revealed a consistent patte rn of sound levels above legal limits, especially in building erection and concre te construction. Between 30-40% of all noise measurements in the study exceeded 85 dBA (Neitzel, 1999). The 1992 National Occupational Exposure Survey (NOES) collected data that determined that 81 to 88% of construction-re lated workers were exposed to noi se levels of at least 85 dBA, representing nearly 3.5 million workers. There is a growing consensus that hearing loss occurs with chronical exposure to 8-hour days of as low as 82 decibels, which is 3 decibe ls less and half the noise level allowed by current OSHA standards for general industry (Center, 2001). Even safe sound levels can become potentially damaging when they occur simultaneou sly, said Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D. and director of clinical services at Yale Universitys School of Medicine. If you must raise your voice to talk to someone an arms length away, the noise level is proba bly over 85 dBA (Neitzel, 2006).

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17 Although noise-induced hearing loss is entirely preventable, there is no way to reverse it. Hearing aids are the only treatment, but they simply amplify sound. Many workers mistakenly perceive as temporary the eff ects from short periods of very loud sounds, called a temporary threshold shift. Hearing is noticeably diminished but seems to fully return after a period of time. The medical community is unclear whether the hair cells in the cochlea merely swelled temporarily or died then regenerated. In some animals, regeneration of the hair cells has been observed, but there have never been test s on human hair cells (Center, 2001). Hearing Protection The most important thing workers can do is pr event noise from reaching unsafe levels and for extended periods of time. W earing ear protection is critical. The following table puts noise levels into perspective and highlights the need for the increased use of hearing protection. Unfortunately, studies cited by OSHA on th e use of hearing protection among U.S. construction workers showed that, at best, hearin g protectors were used by workers routinely exposed to excessive noise levels by about 33% of the workers, with a range of 1% to 50% for workers in various trades (OSHA, 2002). University of Washington researchers measured the noise exposures of tile-setters and found that 20% of the work shifts were above the 8-hour limit of 85 dBA and nearly one-third of the work shifts had short periods of extremely high levels, above 115 dB A. Every tool used by the tile-setters exceeded 85 dBA. Nevertheless, they found th at hearing protection was used less than 15% of the time it was needed. Based on th eir measurements, most tile-setters would get sufficient hearing protection if they wore a device providing an Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of between 12 and 33 decibels (Neitzel, 2006).

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18 Table 2.1 Examples of Decibel Levels of Various Sources. DEVICE DECIBELS (DBA) Grand Canyon at Night 10 Computer 37-45 Clothes Washer 65-70 Phone 66-75 Inside Car, Windows Closed, 30 MPH 68-73 Hairdryer 80-95 Lawn Mower 88-94 Power Tools 90-115 Motorcycle Wind Noise at 65 MPH 100 Rock Concert 95-110 When figuring out what NRR is needed, it is recommended that workers not simply subtract the NRR on the hearing protection from the antici pated exposure level. OSHA determined there are large differences between the reduction in noise levels measured in the laboratory compared with that found in actual use (OSHA, 2002). At the February, 2003 Annual Construction Safety Conference in Rosemont Illinois, the Construction Safety Council recommended that the NRR should be de-rated in the field by 7 dB to account for poor fit and improper use. NIOSH calculates a NRR on earmuffs by subtracting 25% from the manufacturers NRR, and 50% for formable earpl ugs. They want the worker to shoot for a maximum 80 dBA based on the NRR, because it is clear that reduction is not near what one would expect. Earplugs and earmuffs can be us ed simultaneously to boost the reduction rating. NIOSH recommends taking the device with the higher NRR and adding 5 to the field-adjusted NRR. The use of active headphones may help, but OSHA does not, as yet, recognize active protection devices which use dest ructive interference waves to cancel out low-frequency noise while allowing the wearer to hear conversation and warning signs. The primary problems with hearing protection in clude incorrect fitting and inconsistent use which compromises the protective effect. However, placing undue reliance on protection

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19 without attempting to reduce noise at the source, through engineering controls, is at the heart of the problem. As the construction industry recognizes the increasing medical costs of hearing related injuries, and as governments write more noise limiting provisions into their contracts and contractors demand quieter tool s from manufacturers, reducing noise at the source will be realized. Technology will assist in this effort. New devices are being developed, for example, to inform workers, on a real-time basis, of their pr esent exposure to noise by way of a display card that turns colors depending on the noise level. Scott P. Schneider, safety and health director for the Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North Am erica, wants contractor s and manufacturers to collaborate on producing quieter equipment and not wait for government to enact new rules for reducing noise levels. The difference between buying a 350mm circular sa w blade with 84 teeth of 3.5mm width instead of one with 108 teeth of a narrower 3.2mm width can be a 6 dBA reduction. Some newer heavy-duty diesel generators are up to 15 dBA quieter than older diesel and many gasoline generators (Laborers, 2006). OSHA Standards NIOSH reaffirm ed in 1998 the recommended e xposure limit (REL) for occupational noise exposure at 85 dBA as an eight-hour time-weighted average. Exposures at this level or above are considered hazardous in general industry. For the construction industry, the OSHA standards halve the exposure time for every 5 dBA increas e in noise level, as indicated in Table 2.2. Based on their measurements, most tile-setters would get sufficient hearing protection if they wore a device providing an Noise Reducti on Rating (NRR) of between 12 and 33 decibels (Neitzel, 2006).

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20 Table 2.2 OSHA Noise Exposure Limits for Construction Industry. Duration Per Day (in Hours) Sound Level (in dBA, SLOW) 8 90 6 92 4 95 3 97 2 100 1.5 102 1 105 0.5 110 0.25 or Less 115 It has already been pointed out, however, that chronic exposure to levels of 82 dBA, or one-half that of the current REL, can cause hearing loss. In 1996, NI OSH prepared a draft revision to its criteria that recommended hearing loss prevention programs for 82 dBA or above (NIOSH, 1996). This provision was never adop ted, and the construction industry is actually covered by an even more lenient standard (CFR 1926.52), which allows an 8-hour TWA exposure limit of up to 90 dBA. These exposure le vels pertain to con tinuous noise. Impulse noise, or noise characterized by a sharp rise and rapid decay of sound level in a one-second period of time, is limited to 140 dBA at peak, bu t only by convention; there is no enforcement by OSHA for peak levels in the construction industry (NIO SH, 1996). NIOSH actually recommends that workers should never be expos ed to more than 115 dBA without protection, based on research it cited in its draft revision document (Price, 1991). By comparing U.S. standards with Europeans, the U.K. issued its updated Noise at Work Regulations in 2005 with lower and upper daily exposure values of 80 dBA and 85 dBA with a personal daily or weekly limit of 87 dBA. The regulations for maximum exposure in the workplace are mere guidelines in the absence of any other knowledge on th e subject. The data suggest that a worker is well advised to seek hearing protection at far less er levels than is required.

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21 Regulatory Challenges In 2002, OSHA presented a request for comm ent from the construction industry regarding suggested changes to the hearing conservation limits and programs specifically pertaining to construction. Currently being discussed are dropp ing noise level standards (perhaps to the 85 dBA found in general industry), methods of co mpliance, portable monitoring and recording strategies, testing and training programs, worker notification, and hearing protector devices, including suggestions for dealing with noisy tools. The problem in changing noise level standard s is the transient nature of construction activities on a jobsite, where task s change and noise is intermitt ent throughout the day. Unsafe noise levels can occur suddenly and without warning, since the s ource can be from other workers in the vicinity. In an analysis of construction electricians with one to four workers in their vicinity, noise levels were 7 dBA greater than when they were working alone (Neitzel, 1998). It was suggested by Neitzel that noise monitoring be task-based, since th ere is evidence of consistently higher noise levels for certain common construction ta sks. However, the usefulness for monitoring short-term tasks ha s been questioned, since it is im possible to predict a workers TWA exposure based on these short-term measur ements. Better monitoring is needed, however, and as the cost of sound dosimeters comes down, r ecording the noise of various short-term tasks a worker performs over a day or week would be helpful. Presently, the Building Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO balks at the suggestion of using dosimeters to monitor every employees noise exposure, on the ba sis of practicality and cost. It is recognized that bett er sound level labeling of equipm ent is needed. Neitzel also recommended that the level be determined at th e workers ear to more accurately reflect noise exposure and the labeling be based upon the es tablished European No ise Directives.

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22 Providing a single noise level value is simplis tic. It does not account for the many factors and working situations that affect the actual decibel level received by the ear. Idealistically, a noise dosimeter probe would be inserted in the ear canal to most accurately determine the noise exposure level to the worker. More practically, a label that provides a range of decibels for varying work conditions would be helpful to th e worker and is the impetus for conducting this research. Previous Studies of Power Tools W ith the intent to promote buy-quiet for purchasers of power tools, NIOSH has been working on an informational database of decibe l levels measured from commonly used power tools in construction. In September, 2006, it presented its findings for 122 tools including various brands of circular saws, drills, grinde rs, hammer drills, jig saws, miter saws, orbital sanders, reciprocating saws, and screw drivers. The intent is to eventually develop the noise level profile of every power t ool or small machine found on a construction site. Using the UC/NIOSH Acoustic Test Facility at the University of Cincin nati, a single decibel level was determined from measurements using the hemi spherical 10-microphone array specified in ISO 3744 (NIOSH, 2006). ISO standards specify pr ecision-grade sound measurements as being reproducible with a standard devi ation of 1 dBA or less. Sur vey-grade measurements have a standard deviation of within 5 dBA. NIOSH disclosed its standard deviation of measurements at 1.5 dBA. What is not stated is that the decibel rating is not intended to reflect the actual noise level received by the operators ear, due to the various factors mentioned in this chapter that produce a range of possible noise le vels in the real-world envir onment. However, having this new database represents a milestone, because for the first time purchasers have a means of comparing one brand of tool to another. By selecting the brand with th e lowest decibel rating, they are probably choosing the quietest availa ble tool and are crea ting an incentive for

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23 manufacturers to produce quieter products. See Appendix A for the data plots of decibel levels measured for each power tool. It is interesti ng to note from the data that no one particular manufacturer was consistently quieter than its co mpetitors across its product line. In fact, some manufacturers produced the noisies t tools in one category (e.g. Ma kitas orbital sander), and the least noise in another (M akitas circular saw). A separate study sponsored by NIOSH measured sound levels of two tools, a Hitachi impact wrench and a DeWalt jigsaw, to determ ine the precise source of the noise and what methods would be helpful in reducing the decibe l level (Cai, 2003). The researchers discovered that the moving parts (e.g. motor, fan) produced the most noise, but th ere was no particular technique that could be genera lly applied to power tools to muffle their sound. Attenuation varied by tool, the method of sound muff ling, and the sound frequency signature. A masters student at the Univ ersity of Cincinnati investig ated the possible noise control methods for muffling a circular saw and table saw (Fouts, 2002) Using a sound laboratory, the loaded and unloaded levels were measured, then the source of the noise was identified from the various internal parts of each tool. An unloa ded power tool operates without acting upon any material, while a loaded power tool is measured under the condition of cutting into a material. The noise from the cooling fan of the circular saw was found to be the largest contributor of overall noise emanating from the tool, and the blade cutting action was found to be the lesser contributor. It was concluded th at whether the tool was loaded or unloaded was less important than engineering a quieter motor and fan. Ther efore, using the unloade d condition for measuring the decibel level of a tool was valid, and measur ing noise in a loaded condition was unnecessary, in most cases. With regards to the table saw, the table structure was found to be insignificant as a noise source. Again, the motor was the larges t contributor. Different ways of muffling the

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24 sound from the motors was tried, from applying r ubber mounts to isolate the motor from the rest of the tool, to adding absorptive material to th e inner walls of the hous ing. Rubber isolation mounts had very little effect on the overall sound level, but adding absorptive material lowered sound levels by 3 to 5 dBA. The researcher also noted the shortcomings of measuring sound levels in a laboratory environment under the ANSI standard semi-anechoic condition. Shortcomings of Laboratory Testing ANSI S12.15 Test Code provide s testing procedures for m easuring airborne sound from portable electric power tools, and it is used in conjunction with ISO 3744/3745. The provisions of the test code call for testi ng in a sem i-anechoic environment or outside setting, while the ISO 3745 standard provides guidelines for semi-anec hoic and anechoic conditions. The anechoic condition is considered the most accurate simulati on of the real environment. This condition is defined as the tool being held in the air, allowing it to freely em anate sound in all directions. In this state, errors caused by room characteristics are eliminated. However, suspending heavy tools and equipment makes the anec hoic process difficult. Also, some tools are better suited for measurement in a semi-anechoic condition, where th e tool is placed on a hard reflecting surface. Measurements taken in a semi-anechoic environm ent versus an anechoic environment can yield widely varying results, depending on the freque ncy and distances from the source. The semianechoic condition was shown to produce up to twice the sound level at low frequencies and at short distances above the source as compared with the same m easurement taken in an anechoic chamber (Fouts, 2002). The Draft ISO Standard 3745 indicated a difference of as much as 17 dB between the methods it outlined for measuri ng sound in a semi-anechoic condition. Fouts concluded that current test methods for measur ing power tools do not ad equately take into account the environmental factors in which the measurement is taken.

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25 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODS Overview Prior research has identified widespread overe xposure to noise levels exceeding federal standards. In an effort to help m anagers and workers identify the tools and situations in which workers encounter excessive noise levels on th e jobsite, individual researchers and government agencies, such as NIOSH, have measured decibe l levels of many construction power tools. The problem with some of the resear ch is that measurements were conducted in laboratory settings with a single decibel level, e xpressed in dBA, being assigned to each tool. These results fall short of the primary objective, wh ich is to provide noise levels that best simulate actual noise received by the workers ear so that the worker can determin e the most appropriate noise reduction required to prevent hearing damage. The reason is that prior research indicated a wide disparity in sound measurements depending on th e direction and distan ce of the sound meter relative to the location of the tool. What is needed is to determine the range of noise levels for comm on power tools in an environment that most simulates everyday construc tion settings. One situation may lend itself to more or less hearing protection than another. In the ideal world (where cost or effort is not an factor), preventing hearing damage on the jobsite would best be accomplished by measuring noise levels right at th e entrance to the ear canal for every type of work condition. Armed with the most accurate noise measurements, workers could make the best possible decisions about what level of noise reduction is required to prevent hearing damage. In the real world, if workers are aware of the range of possibl e decibel levels for each power to ol they use, given a set of typical situations often encount ered on the jobsite, then prop er noise reduction can still be achieved and hearing damage prevented.

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26 The goal of this study was to measure the range of possible sound pressure levels, measured in dBA, that the construction opera tor encounters in commonl y occurring indoor and outdoor conditions and for commonly used power tools. Power Tools Selected for Measurement The electric power tools studi ed are comm only found on construction sites. In some cases, different brands for the same type of tool were compared in order to gauge the relevance of the tools design to the expected noise level. Table 3.1. Power Tools Measured in This Study. Type Manufacturer Model Type Technical Specs. Rated speed (rpm) Sears Craftsman 315.10042 3/8 Chuck Corded 2.5 Amp Variable Speed 0-1200 RPM Drill/Driver Ryobi P206 Chuck Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed 0-1300 RPM DeWalt DC900 Chuck Cordless 36 Volt Variable Speed 0-1600 RPM Hammer Drill Bosch 1199VSR / Chuck Corded 8.5 Amp Variable Speed 0-3000 RPM Jig Saw Skil 4395 n/a Variable Orbit 3.2 Amp Variable Speed 0-3200 SPM DeWalt DC330 Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed 0-3000 SPM Reciprocating Saw DeWalt DW938 Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed 0-2800 SPM Milwaukee 6509 Corded 4 Amp Variable Speed 0-2400 SPM Black and Decker SC500 Type 1 Corded 3.4 Amp Variable Speed 0-6500 SPM

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27 Table 3.1 (Continued) Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 Type 3 7-1/4 9 Amp Wood Blade 150 Teeth Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L 7 Blade 8 Amp 7000 RPM Sander Sears Grinder / Sander Craftsman 315.11505 1 9 2 HP 13 Amp 4600 RPM Sears Belt Sander Craftsman 315.11721 3 7 Amp Belt Size 3 x 21 Makita Finishing Sander B04550 n/a 1.6 Amp 14000 OPM Grinder Sears Craftsman 315.27440 n/a 2.5 Amp 26,500 RPM Router Black and Decker 7616 Type 1 n/a 5 Amp 23000 RPM Planer Hitachi 370W Electric 3.4 Amp 15000 RPM Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 n/a 40 Watt 2-Speed 10,400 / 12500 SPM Figure 3.1. Sper Scientific Sound Meter

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28 Sound Instrumentation All sound measurem ents were taken with a T ype 2 digital sound meter with detachable probe model 840012 manufactured by Sper Scientific Ltd.. Features include computer interface, fast and slow time weighting, A and C decibel frequency weighting scales covering 30 130 dB, and the hold function. The manual and au to range scales have 0.1 dB resolution and an accuracy of .5dB. The mete r was manufactured and calibrated in September, 2006 to meet IEC651 and ANSI S1.4 specifications for a Type 2 sound meter. Response rates for fast and slow are 200 milliseconds and 500 milliseconds, respectively. Noise Measurement Approach In order to sim ulate the range of sound leve ls received by operators of power tools in commonly found construction environments, meas urements were taken in indoor and outdoor situations. Four common situations were cons idered and up to six measurements were taken around the power tools as follows: Center of Room Power tools were placed in the cente r of an enclosed room ( Figure 3.2) constructed of concrete masonry walls and a stucco ceiling further described in the following paragraph; Near a wall Power tools were positioned in the same enclosed room at a distance of three feet from a concrete masonry wall ( Figure 3.3); In the Corner of Room Power tools were positioned in the room at a distance three feet from two intersecting concrete masonry walls (a pproximately four feet from the corner) in an enclosed room ( Figure 3.4); Around the Corner from Tool Power tools were placed on one side of a concrete masonry wall at a height of five feet, while noise m easurements were taken on the opposite side of the wall ( Figure 3.5). Again, these measurements were taken in the same enclosed room further described below. Two Tools in Combination Indoor Center-of-Room measurements were repeated, this time using a combination of two tools side-byside in order to simulate the conditions when two workers operate their power tools in close proximity to each other.

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29 At a Distance Maximum sound readings were recorded at set distances (3ft., 4ft., 6ft. and 8ft.) from the power tools, in both indoor and outdoor enviro nments. This scenario was intended to determine if there is a pattern of noise level decline as a worker moves further away from a power tool ( Figure 3.6). Figure 3.2 shows the typical arrangement of the tool vis--vis the operator and the microphone of the sound meter. Two persons co nducted the measuremen ts: one holding and taking readings from the sound meter, while the other person stabilized the tools and checked measurements using a Swanson aluminum yardstick. In most scenarios, multiple measurements were taken in a consistent manner on the same lateral plane as the power tool and typically three feet from the tools outer ca sing. The tools were placed 30 inches above the ground surface to simulate typical working conditions on a jobsite. Measurements were taken on the slow setting (response rate 500 ms) of the sound meter, record ing the decibel level indicated after five seconds to allow the tools noise to peak and stabilize. The room utilized for the measurements was enclosed on all four sides by concrete masonry walls with a smooth, stucco finish and a smooth stucco-finished ceiling. The r oom dimensions were 14 feet by 18 feet with a ceiling height of 7 feet, 10 inches and no windows. Above the ceiling were rafters and a barreltile roof. The ambient decibel level in the room before starting the power tool measurements, was 36.6 dBA. There were no other objects in the room besides the two persons doing the measurements, and the stool on which the tools were placed. Scenarios Center-of-Room Placement of Tool Four m easurements were taken (front, back, and sides) on the same plan e as the tool and at a distance of three feet from the tools outer ca sing. A fifth measurement was taken at 18 inches above the tool and at an angle ap proximately 15 degrees offset to th e left of the tool to simulate the typical position of the opera tors ear during operation. Fi nally, a sixth measurement was

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30 taken at the noisiest location around the power tool casing to measure the maximum possible decibel level. Four tools (Ryobi Detail Carv er, Husky 7 Wet Tile Saw, Black and Decker 7-1/4 Circular Saw, and Sears 3 Belt Sander) were measured more than once, once in unloaded condition then loaded with cutting material. Fo r example, the Black a nd Decker circular saw was measured with just a spinning blade, then it was measured while cutting a 2x4 stud using a 150-tooth wood blade. A third set of measuremen ts was taken using an old, worn 20-tooth fastcut wood blade. These measurements were inte nded to determine the noise level differences among different blades that might be found on a jobsite. Figure 3.2. Center-of-Room Placement 3 feet (Typical: Lateral Plane) SYMBOLS REPRESENT SOUND MEASUREMENT LOCATIONS ( T yp ical ) TOOL PLACEMENT Height: 30 inches BEHIND TOOL 24 inches OPERATOR Offset 15 from azimuth Height: 48 inches ABOVE FRONT OF TOOL GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane)

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31 Tool Placement Near a Wall The noise levels of all 18 power tools were measured when placed at a distance of three feet from the wall in the same 14 ft. by 18ft. enclosed room used for the other indoor scenarios. As shown in Figure 3.4, five measurements were taken, including one at the approximate location of where a typical right-h anded operators ear might be posit ioned slightly to the left and above the tool at a height 30 inches off the ground ( Figure 3.3). Figure 3.3. Tool Placement Near Wall MICROPHONE LOCATIONS 3 feet from tool on same lateral plane (Typical) TOOL Height: 30 inches BEHIND TOOL 24 inches OPERATOR Offset 15 from azimuth Height: 48 inches FRONT OF TOOL GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane) ABOVE 3 Feet

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32 Corner-of-Room Placement of Tool Measurements were taken in the corner of th e same enclosed room, with each power tool positioned at three feet from the intersecting wall surfaces, as shown in Figure 3.4. The tool was positioned facing towards the corner, with its back facing outward and the operator facing the corner while holding the tool. Figure 3.4. Tool Placement at Corner of Room OPERATOR Offset 15 from azimuth Height: 48 inches MICROPHONE LOCATIONS (Typical) BEHIND TOOL 24 inches ABOVE TOOL FRONT OF TOOL GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane) 3 feet from Tool on Same Lateral Plane TOOL Height: 30 inches

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33 Tool Placement Around the Corner The tools were positioned on one side of a c oncrete masonry wall in the same enclosed room as described in the other scenarios. The microphone of the sound meter was placed on the opposite side of the wall in order to determin e the sound level for a worker standing just around the corner from the tool operator ( Figure 3.5). A single decibel reading was taken at a height of five feet from the ground and set back two feet from the end of the wall. Figure 3.5. Tool Placed Around the Corner from Microphone BEHIND TOOL OPERATOR / MICROPHONE LOCATION Height: 60 inches 3 feet (Typical: Lateral Plane) TOOL Height: 30 inches GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane) FRONT OF TOOL 44 inches 12 in. 24 inches 36 inches Wall Width: 8 in.

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34 Noise Levels at a Distance (indoors) For the indo or environment, the tool being tested was placed as in the Center-of-Room scenario. While readings were taken at four radial points for each distance, only the highest noise reading was recorded for each distance from the tool, beginni ng at three feet, then f our feet, six feet, and ending at eight feet ( Figure 3.6). Moving around the tool at each of the four lateral locations, as in the other scenarios, the highest noise level was recorded. A to tal of four readings per tool were recorded. Figure 3.6. Noise Levels at a Distance BEHIND TOOL SYMBOLS REPRESENT MEASUREMENT LOCATIONS (Typical) ABOVE TOOL GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane) Distance: 8 feet Distance: 3 feet Distance: 4 feet Distance: 6 feet TOOL Height: 30 inches FRONT OF TOOL

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35 Two Tools in Combination From the sample of 18 tools, the following combinations of tools were positioned as in the Center-of-Room scenario and placed side-by-side, one-inch from each other: Black and Decker Circular Saw combin ed with Sears Craftsman Belt Sander Husky Wet Tile Saw combined w ith Black & Decker Circular Saw Husky Wet Tile Saw combined with Sears Craftsman Belt Sander Ryobi Detail Carver combined with Sears Craftsman Die Grinder As in the Center-of-Room scenario, five measurements we re taken first around each tool individually, then around the tool combination. A sixth measurement was taken at the midpoint between the two tools to measure th e highest combined noise level. Noise Levels at a Distance (outdoors) Similar to the indoor situati on, only the maximum noise leve ls were recorded at each distance, starting with 10 feet from the tool and moving away in 10foot increments to the last measurements taken at 60 feet. Because of th e proximity of city traffic, the outdoor ambient noise levels ranged from 48 to 55 dBA before turning on the tools. There were no objects (structures, barriers, etc.) within the 60-foot me asurement area; however, th ere were buildings at a distance of 78 feet. The ground surface was a conc rete slab of unequal dimensions at least 10 feet wide. Limitations of Research The m easurements were taken under the above conditions and at certain distances from objects to indicate the possible ra nges of decibel levels for comm only-found jobsite conditions. There are many more conditions in which worker s are exposed, however, and operators can be found at distances closer or furthe r from their tools as they are us ing them. Room characteristics

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36 can vary widely, as well. If there are objects in the room close by, or the room dimensions are different than what was used in this study, the decibel level would be affected. Also, having a roof or no roof overhead would make a differenc e in the readings. In this study, two persons were used to ensure the accuracy and safety of the process. These pers ons represent objects in the room, and while they were positioned in such a way as to minimize obstructing or reflecting sound, their presence near the tool s probably affected the readings.

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37 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS In all, 496 noise readings were taken to conduc t the research containe d herein (between 17 and 42 readings per tool), and all of the data are presented in Appendix B. NOISE LEVELMEASUREMENTS HIGHEST AND LOWEST READINGS(dBA)0 20 40 60 80 100 120D e t a i l C a r v e r R e c i p r o c a t i n g S a w C o r d e d D r i l l R o u t e r J i g s a w C i r c u l a r S a w W e t T i l e S a w P l a n e r H a m m e r d r i l l B e l t S a n d e r C I R C U L A R S A W B E L T S A N D E R W E T T I L E S A W Figure 4.1 Noise Level Measurements for Sele cted Power Tools in their Unloaded Condition (except as noted). 85 115 Loaded Condition Maximum readings taken at the tools outer casing. Minimum read ings taken at a distance of three to six feet from outer casing

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38 As noted in Chapter 3, prolonged exposure to 8-hour days of as low as 82 decibels can lead to permanent hearing loss, and brief exposur e to levels exceeding 115 decibels can cause immediate and permanent damage. OSHA sta ndards allow U.S. workers up to 85 dBA of exposure per day and construction workers up to 90 dBA, while Euro pean standards are set at 85 dBA for all types of workers. The point of reit erating these limits is that all of the 18 power tools measured in this study ga ve at least two noise readings in excess of 90 dBA, depending on the conditions under which they we re operating. Some of the tool s registered above 90 dBA in the majority of their readings. With a minimu m of 17 indoor readings per tool, the following tools indicated no noise readings of less than 90 dBA, except on the opposite side of a concrete wall in the Around-the-Corner scenario: (1) Hammerdrill (2) Circular Saw (3) Cordless Reciprocating Saw (4) Router (5) Wet Tile Saw (6) Planer (7) Corded Handsaw (8) Corded Drill (9) Sander/Grinder (10)Belt Sander (11) Finishi ng Sander (12)Corded Jigsaw (13)Cordless Jigsaw The belt sander, circular saw, and wet tile sa w were measured a total of 35 times, and none of their indoor readings were under 93 dBA, except for the read ings on the opposite side of the wall (which were still high at over 88 dBA). By far, the noisiest power tool measured was the belt sander, with a range of indoor measurements of 91-116 dBA. Even locating the sound meter pickup on the opposite side of a concrete wall, un der the Around-the-Corner scenario, the noise level was over 90 dBA. The cordless power tools (reciprocating saw, drill, jigsaw) were less noisy than their corded counterparts, by between 1 and 10 dBA, but this difference could be the result of differences in power strength and/ or brand of tool. For exampl e, the corded Sears drill was

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39 noisier than the DeWalt 36 Volt cordless Drill by 2-9 dBA, and the DeWalt 36V was noisier than the 18 Volt Ryobi cordless drill by 2-7dBA. Each is less powerful than the other, which is a possibility that explains the noise differences. Wide Range of Noise Levels The data ind icate a wide range of noise leve ls for each tool. Figures 4.2 and 4.3 provide examples of these ranges, using the data from th e circular saw and belt sander at each of the seven measurement positions, four of the scen arios (Center-of-Room, Near-a-Wall, In-theCorner, Around-the-Corner), and un der loaded and unloaded conditions. CIRCULAR SAW85 90 95 100 105 110 115dBA Center of Room 96.19597.195.796.7110.6 Near a Wall 95.995.695.694.895.7 In the Corner 96.898.296.395.599.4 Around the Corner 88.2 Loaded: Normal Blade 101.4112.1 Loaded: Worn Blade 107.2114.5 1234567 Figure 4.2 Noise Measurements fo r Black and Decker Circular Saw

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40 BELT SANDER85.0 90.0 95.0 100.0 105.0 110.0 115.0dBA Center of Room 98.499.198.098.099.9113.6 Near a Wall 98.398.098.897.799.4 Corner of Room 99.6100.298.598.5100.4 Around the Corner 90.8 Loaded: Sanding a 2x4 Wood Stud 101.4116.1 1234567 Figure 4.3 Noise Measurements for Sears 3 Belt Sander The data indicate that for every power tool studied, there is no one decibel level reading that could provide an accurate measure of the noise emanating from the tool. It is important to remember, when reading and comparing decibel leve ls given in this chapter, that every 3 dBA difference represents a doubling/ha lving of noise, since the rate of increase/decrease in sound is exponential as it rises or falls. Comparing Positions Figures 4.2 and 4.3 also provide ex amples for comparing noise levels of each of the seven position s measured. To assist the reader in referring to the various positions, Figure 4.5 is provided below. When standing behind the tool, while hol ding it in front and looking forward: Position 1 was located directly right of the tool three feet away; Position 2 was located directly in front of the tool three feet away; Position 3 was located directly left of the tool three feet away; Position 4 was located directly be hind the tool three feet away;

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41 Position 5 was located above and about 15 degr ees from azimuth behind the tool, at a distance of two feet from the tool; Position 6 was located at a distance of within one -half inch of the tools outer casing at the point around the tool that registered the maximum noise level; and Position 7 was used exclusively for the Around-the-Corner measurement scenario, located on the opposite side of a concre te wall as per figure 2.5. Figure 4.4 Illustration of Various Positions for All Noise Measurements There is a clear difference in noise levels depe nding on the position of th e worker vis--vis the tool. The following tables were taken from the noise measurement data and confirm this finding. Using only the noise measurements on the same lateral plane (Positions 1 through 4) around each tool, an average noise level was computed ( Tabl e 4.1). Then, the difference between the tools position measurement was compared with this aver age value. Finally, th e collective differences were averaged for each position. TOOL ABOVE GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane) POSITION 2 POSITION 1 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 POSITION 6 BEHIND TOOL FRONT OF TOOL Distance: 3 feet (typ.) (Simulating the Operators Ear above tool at a distance of 2 feet) POSITION 3

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42Table 4.1 Average Noise Measurements on Lateral Plane Positions 1 to 4 (taken from Center-of-Room data) Carver Planer Grinder Sander Belt Sand. Finish Sand Cord Jigsaw 18V Jigsaw 18V Sawzal Position 1 69.9 95.9 82.4 103.8 98.4 92.1 96.3 95.6 92.8 Position 2 70.0 95.7 82.9 102.5 99.1 93.1 95.8 94.1 92.4 Position 3 69.9 96.2 84.2 102.9 98.0 93.6 96.1 94.9 93.0 Position 4 67.5 96.2 83.5 103.2 98.0 93.2 95.8 94.4 91.6 AVERAGES 69.3 96.0 83 .3 103.1 98.4 93.0 96.0 94.8 92.5 Cord Sawzal Tile Saw Circ. Saw Handsaw Router 18V Drill 36V Drill Cord Drill Hammerdrill AVERAGE FOR ALL TOOLS Position 1 91.0 96.7 96.1 97.2 94.5 75.6 83.0 92.1 95.4 91.6 Position 2 88.9 95.8 95.0 96.3 94.3 75.7 82.8 91.3 95.7 91.2 Position 3 90.5 96.6 97.1 98.2 95.0 75.8 82.5 92.2 95.8 91.8 Position 4 90.4 96.8 95.7 97.6 94.7 75.2 82.6 92.0 96.0 91.4 AVERAGES 90.2 96.5 96.0 97.3 94.6 75.6 82.7 91.9 95.7 Table 4.2 Differences Between Each Position Reading and the Average for the Tool Carver Planer Grinder Sander Belt Sand. Finish Sand Cord Jigsaw 18V Jigsaw 18V Sawzal Position 1 0.575 -0.1 -0.85 0.7 0.025 -0.9 0.3 0.85 0.35 Position 2 0.675 -0.3 -0.35 -0.6 0.725 0.1 -0.2 -0.65 -0.05 Position 3 0.575 0.2 0.95 -0.2 -0.375 0.6 0.1 0.15 0.55 Position 4 -1.825 0.2 0.25 0.1 -0.375 0.2 -0.2 -0.35 -0.85 Cord Sawzal Tile Saw Circ. Saw Handsaw Router 18V Drill 36V Drill Cord Drill Hammerdrill AVERAGE DIFFERENCE FOR ALL TOOLS Position 1 0.8 0.225 0.125 -0.125 -0.125 0.025 0.275 0.2 -0.325 0.11 Position 2 -1.3 -0.675 -0.975 -1.025 -0.325 0.125 0.075 -0.6 -0.025 -0.30 Position 3 0.3 0.125 1.125 0.875 0.375 0.225 -0.225 0.3 0.075 0.32 Position 4 0.2 0.325 -0.275 0.275 0.075 -0.375 -0.125 0.1 0.275 -0.13

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43 Comparing each position, the last column of Table 4.2 indicates that noise levels for Positions 2 (in front of the tool) and 4 (directly behind th e tool) were lower than the other positions. Position 3 (to the left of the tool) was clearly the noisiest of the lateral positions. In fact, there was a variance of 0.62 dBA (or 21% noise diffe rence) between these lowest and highest positions. The noise level readings of four of the tools were not consistent with these findings: sander/grinder, belt sander, finish ing sander, and the hammerdrill. Besides Position 6, taken at the noisiest part of the tools outer casing, Position 5 data indicate that it was noisier than Positions 1-4. Position 5 approximates the typical location of the workers head when operating a power tool, be hind and about two feet above the tool. Had Position 5 been three feet away like the other positions, instead of two feet, Position 5 may not have been noisier than Positions 1-4. Therefore, no conclusions can be drawn from Position 5s apparently noisier readings, other than to say that the positioning of the workers head is very important in determining the range of possible no ise levels while operating power tools. Table 4.3 Positions 5 and 6 Measurements (taken from Center-of-Room data) Carver Planer Grinder Sander Belt Sand. Finish Sand Cord Jigsaw 18V Jigsaw 18V Sawzal Position 5 69.7 94.8 83.8 103.6 99.9 93.9 96.4 95.8 93.2 Position 6 88.7 111.3 100.7 110.8 113.6 104.2 108.8 106.7 102.9 Cord Sawzal Tile Saw Circ. Saw Handsaw Router 18V Drill 36V Drill Cord Drill Hammerdrill AVERAGE FOR ALL TOOLS Position 5 90.1 98.2 96.7 97.4 96.7 78.2 82.2 91.5 95.2 92.1 Position 6 103.6 111.2 110.6 112.5 105.7 94.1 96.4 103.9 113.6 105.5 Position 6 (at the casing) was by far the noisies t position, as one would expect. For all but three of the tools, the Position 6 readings were at extremely da ngerous levels in excess of 105

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44 dBA. Oftentimes, workers operate in tight places or desire a closer view of their work, thus they place their head very close to the tool. C onsequently, Position 6 data are important in considering the worst-case s cenario of placing one s ear too close to the tool. Loaded vs. Unloaded Conditions In the Center-of-Room scenario, a select num ber of the tools were measured in loaded conditions, operating in cutting mode on wood or ti le material with new and worn blades to compare noise level differences. The detail carver belt sander, wet tile saw, and circular saw were all tested under loaded conditions. C onsistently, noise level measurements were significantly higher under load due to the cutting of material and/or the type or condition of the blade. Referring to Figures 4.2 and 4.3 for th e circular saw and belt sander, respectively, operating under load resulted in at least a 50% increase in noise. In addition, a worn blade, instead of a normal condition blade, on the circular saw had the dramatic effect of increasing the decibel level by 5.8 dBA. Both the circular saw and belt sander were operating on a Southern Pine 2x4 wood stud. Operating the belt sander in loaded condition increased the Position 5 noise reading by 1.5 dBA, and using th e circular saw (with a normal condition blade) to cut the wood stud increased the measurement by 4.7 dBA. Using the wet tile saw to cut an 18 porcelain floor tile caused the Position 5 noise re ading to greatly increase by 8 dBA, from 98.2 dBA (unloaded) to 106.2 dBA (loaded). The Position 6 reading (l oaded) was 117.5 dBA, the highest noise level of any of the tools measured. Effect of Different Work Scenarios on Measurements Corner-of-Room Only in this scenario did Position 2 (which along with Position 4 was the least noisy position in the other s cenarios) show the highest noise levels of any of the lateral positions. This was due to the positioning of the tool, with its fr ont pointing directly into the corner of the two

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45 intersecting walls. As a result of bouncing sound waves off these walls, Position 2 recorded levels far higher than Positions 1-4 of other scenarios, ranging between 1.6 and 3.7 dBA higher when comparing average noise levels for each po sition ( Appendix B). The greatest difference was between Position 2 of this scenario and the same Position 2 recorded in the Center-of-Room. Comparing Position 5 ( Corner-of-Room ) to Position 5 (Center-of-Room ) resulted in a 0.9 dBA (i.e. 30% higher noise level) from the Corner-of-Room scenario. Near-a-Wall Surprisingly, noise levels from this scenar io were not higher, on average, than those recorded in the Center-of-Room ( Appendix B for measurement data for this scenario). Around-the-Corner Comparing the noise measurement data for this scenario with the measurements from Position 5 (a comparable location) of the Center-of-Room scenario, there was a loss of 11.3 dBA (i.e. 93% drop in noise) because of the tool be ing placed on the opposite side of a wall at a relative distance of five feet aw ay. The distance probably explai ns about 2-3 dBA of the drop, if one considers the decrease in decibels found in the At-a-Distance measurements. That would leave about 8-9 dBA of the drop to be explai ned by the walls presence and its material composition, which in this case was concrete. Two Tools in Combination It was surprising to discover that two t ools operating in combination produced a sound level that exceeded the noisiest of the two tools, by as much as 3 dBA ( Table 4.5). Theoretically, when two noise sources are comb ined, the sound energy is additive and can be expressed by the formula: L = 10 x log10 (L1 / 1010 + L2 / 1010 + L3 / 1010 + .). For example, if a sound source of 80 dB was combined with a sound source of 85dB, the

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46 resulting sound pressure level would be: 10 x log10 (108 + 108.5) = 86.2dB. The difference of 5dB, when combined in this case, would theoreti cally add 1.2dB to the highest sound source. Table 4.4 was produced from data provided by the 1980 Geneva World Health Organizations Environmental Health Criteria Report, giving the calculated decibel level combinations for various sound differences between two sources. Table 4.4 Theoretical Incr ease in Sound Levels When Combining Two Sound Sources Difference Between Higher and Lower Intensity Sound Source (dB) dB to Add to Higher Intensity Sound Source To Arrive at Combined Intensity Level 0.0 3.0 1.0 2.5 2.0 2.0 5.0 1.2 10.0 0.5 Not all of the position readi ngs for the power tools run in combination produced a net increase in noise that precisely matched th e formula calculations; however, most observed increases were close to the calculated value. For example, the wet tile saw and circular saw combination produced an observed reading of 98.5 dBA in Position 1, a difference of 2.1 dBA when compared to the wet tile sa w (the loudest of the pair) operat ing alone. This observation is consistent with the calculated theoretical di fference (from the formula above) of 2.2 dB. Combining the circular saw and belt sander produced (as an average of all six posi tion readings), a 0.90 dBA increase in noise level ov er the belt sander, the noisiest of the two. This increase is also close to the theoretical incr ease of 1.1 dB, using the formula cal culation. It is interesting to note that both the formula and the observed readings confirm that the greater the difference between the two tools noise levels, the smalle r the increase in the combined noise level.

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47 Table 4.5 Noise Measurements for Two Tools in Combination TOOL COMBINATION POSITION 1 POSITION 2 POSITION 3 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 POSITION 6 1 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 -separately 94.7 96.1 95.3 95.3 95.5 106.4 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 -separately 100.2 98.1 100.5 100.4 100.5 112.6 1 COMBINATION 100.6 100.9 100.7 102.0 102.2 111.3 (at midpoint) Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 -separately 94.7 96.1 95.3 95.3 95.5 106.4 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L -separately 96.4 97.3 96.1 95.2 97.9 112.1 2 COMBINATION 98.5 98.2 98.2 99.4 101.6 102.6 (at midpoint) Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 -separately 100.2 98.1 100.5 100.4 100.5 112.6 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L -separately 96.4 97.3 96.1 95.2 97.9 112.1 3 COMBINATION 100.7 101.4 100.7 100.3 102.1 105.4 (at midpoint) Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 -separately 71.7 70.6 71.3 70.0 73.6 93.6 Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 -separately 82.2 82.3 83.2 83.2 84.6 96.6 4 COMBINATION 82.7 83.1 83.9 83.4 84.0 97.5

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48 Effect of Distance on Noise Level Figures 4.4 and 4.6 point to a reducing rate of re duction in noise levels as the readings are taken further from the source. For example, the difference in readings between Position 6, at the source, and Position 5 two feet away from the source is larger than the difference between Position 5 (two feet away) and Positions 1-4 (thr ee feet away). These observations confirm the inverse-square law of physics whic h indicates a more rapid disper sion of sound waves in the first few feet than in each incremental foot thereafter. According to the law, outdoor sound pressure wave levels drop by half as the distance from the source doubles (this law is not applicable indoors because of reverberations of walls and from objects). The acoustical inverse-square is dBdistance 2 = dBdistance 1 x distance1 x 1/distance2. This linear formula only applies over moderate distances, however. As the distance away from the source is increased further, the rate of noise reduction diminishes, as demonstrated by the observed measurements shown in Figure 4.5. Over long distances the noise le vel reduction is logari thmic and is expressed by the formula: dBdistance 2 = 20 x log10 (distance1 / distance2). The measurements in Figure 4.6 generally conf orm to the theoretical line drawn from the formula calculations up to about 30 feet. For ex ample, the tools dropped, on average, 3.2 dBA as the distance increased from 20 to 30 feet. Accordi ng to the formula, the drop in sound intensity should have been 20 x log10 (20feet/30feet) = 3.52 dB As the distance got beyond 30 feet, most of the observed noise levels deviated from the th eoretical line, probably because of interference from the varying levels of outdoor ambient noise and because the measurements were taken in dBA instead of dB. However, nearly all of th e measurements for each tool illustrated the formulas logarithmic relationship between noise level and distance.

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49 Figure 4.5 Change in Noise Reduction (Indoors) Figure 4.6 Change in Noise Reduction (Outdoors)

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50 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The results of this study are consistent, in m ost aspects, and go beyond prior research in this area of power tool noise. Like past studies, this study found indications that the Corner-ofRoom scenario produced higher noise levels when compared to Center-of-Room readings. This study also found evidence to confirm that noise levels behind the tool were lower than some other locations, although it disagree d that noise is lowest behind th e tool (the least noisy location was found to be in front of the tool, except in the Corner-of-Room scenario). It also confirmed that the position of the operator is crucial in a ffecting the received decibel level, and that tools emanate dramatic fluctuations in noise rather than a narrow range. Finally, this study confirmed that power tool noise drops off qui cker outdoors than it does indoors. The tendency in prior efforts to measure pow er tool noise levels was to focus on the science and accuracy of measuring sound in the environment that is most conducive to sound measurement an anechoic sound chamber. Howeve r, this misses the point of measuring power tool noise. The objective is to ensure the pres ervation of the construction workers hearing; therefore, noise measurements need to be both pr actical and scientific. This study has attempted to determine the most appropriate answer to th e question a construction worker might ask, For the most common situations I encounter in daily work, what is the noise level my ears will receive from my power tools? When this answ er is known, the workers can best determine the needed noise reduction rating for their hearing protection. Determinants of Power Tool Noise Levels Distance Sound disburses rapidly and noise drops precipitously in the fi rst two feet away from the outer casing of tools, so work ers must keep their heads outside this distance range while

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51 operating their power tools. In this study, Position 5 (simulating the position of the construction workers head at two feet above the tool) was on average 0.6 dBA higher (20% noisier) than the average of Positions 1-4, at three feet away. Outdoors, noise reverberates off other objects much less, and this study found that, for all to ols tested, noise drops to below the harmful 85 dBA level within the first 10 feet. Environment This studys Two-Tools-in-Combination scenario showed that tw o tools operating close to each other act in com bination to produce a noise level that is, on average, 1.3 dBA higher (44% noisier) than the noisiest tools decibel level. Operating indoors produces more sound pressure from sound waves bouncing off walls and objects, th ereby resulting in less loss of sound as one moves away from the tool. Location of Tool If the tool is placed in a corn er of two intersecting solid wall s, it is likely to produce higher noise levels than if it were in the middle of a room or near just one wall. If a person is working on the opposite side of a wall from a power tool but within about five feet, they are not likely to need hearing protection since the results of this study i ndicated that the wall and distance reduced the noise to an average 81 dBA. However, if there were multiple tools operating on the opposite side of the wall, especially if the tools consisted of any combination of belt sander, wet tile saw, circular saw, handsaw or router, the noise level w ould probably be high enough to necessitate hearing protection. Position of Operator It is not surprising that the closer one is to the noise source, the louder the sound is going to be. W hat is important to note, however, is th e severity level of the noise as an operator gets within close range of the tool. Table 5.1 indicates that as the oper ator moves in from three feet

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52 away to approximately two feet away from the tool at Position 5, the noise increases by 25% on average. However, if the operator moves closer to the tool, the intensity of the noise increases exponentially, as indicated by a nearly five-fold in crease in noise hitting th e ear if the workers head gets next to the tools casing. This is what the operator has to avoi d at all times, because the noise levels next to the cas ing in this study ranged from 112118 dBA for the loaded tests. Table 5.1 Comparison of Noise Levels Within First Three Feet of Tool (dBA) Position 6 (at tools outer casing) Position 5 (approximately 2 feet from tool) Difference in Noise Level At-aDistance (3 feet from tool) Difference in Noise Level* Detail Carver 88.7 69.7 -19.0 69.9 0.2 Planer 111.3 94.8 -16.5 96.2 1.4 Die Grinder 100.7 83.8 -16.9 84.2 0.4 Belt Sander 113.6 99.9 -13.7 98.0 -1.9 Finishing Sander 104.2 93.9 -10.3 93.6 -0.3 Reciprocating Saw 103.6 90.1 -13.5 90.5 0.4 Wet Tile Saw 111.2 98.2 -13.0 96.8 -1.4 Circular Saw 110.6 96.7 -13.9 97.1 0.4 Handsaw 112.5 97.4 -15.1 98.2 0.8 Router 105.7 96.7 -9.0 95.0 -1.7 Cordless Drill 96.4 82.2 -14.2 75.8 -6.4 AVERAGE DROP IN NOISE LEVEL -14.1 -0.7 CHANGE IN NOISE -470% -25% Some tools actually increased instead of decreasing (as expected) in noise level from Position 5 (at 2 feet) to the other positions 3 feet away. The reason is that some tools transmit more sound intensity above their casings (towards the operators ear at Position 5) than they do ho rizontally. As a result, comp aring Position 5, which is 2 feet away but above the tool and not on the same lateral pl ane, with the other positions three feet away but to the side of the tool, gives a false impression that noise is increasing as the distance increases. Loaded vs. Unloaded The lim ited testing under loaded conditions in this study revealed a dramatic increase in noise from a tool operating under load versus one that is free-spinning (not loaded). More testing should be done in this area because loaded conditions pr ovide a more practical condition under which workers operate.

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53 Comparing This Studys Results with NIOSH Ratings .The wide range of noise levels found for each to ol under consideration confirms that OSHA standards can easily be violated even when a power tools NIOSH rating indicates a noise level below 90 dBA. Appendix A summarizes the recent noise level ratings provided by NIOSH, which measured over 130 power tools in a sound chamber and provided a single decibel level for each tool in an attempt to give the construction industry a way to compare brands and make it possible to Buy Quiet to reduce hearing loss. The September, 2006 NIOSH tables recomme nd that hearing protection be worn by workers whenever operating tools that produce a sound pressure level above 85 dBA. Many of their tools, including drills, gri nders, circular saws, jigsaws, and orbital sanders, were assigned a single decibel rating of less than 85 dBA, thus being identified as being safe to use without hearing protection. For example, their Makita 5277NB circular sa w shows the lowest reading of any of the 28 circular saws, at 83 dBA. The Porter Cable circular saw shows the highest sound level of 103 dBAs. Is the Makita therefore, safe to use without hearing protection? Comparing the NIOSH information to the result s of this thesis leads to the conclusion that the government ratings may be misleading to those who think they are buying quiet based on the tools below 85 dBA rating. To arrive at their single value, NIOSH used multiple sound level readings measured in an ANSI S12.15 approved sound chamber. While their sound chamber measurements are probably more accurate than the measurements taken for this research the NIOSH measurem ents may be misleading. Their numbers may be precise, but NIOSH merely used an averaging process to a ssign a single noise level for each tool, without accounting for working conditions, loading conditions and distance from the workers ear to the tool casing.

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54 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS This thesis found that there is a wide range of possible noise levels for each power tool. For instan ce, the Black and Decker circular saw had an enormous range of 20 dBAs, with the highest reading of 115 dBAs felt if the worker was close to the saws outer casing and used a worn wood blade to cut a Southern Pine 2x4 stud. The lowest reading (95 dBA) was felt if the worker merely ran the saw without cutting anythi ng and was located behind the tool. Therefore, it is possible that the Makita circular saw m easured at below 85 dBA by NIOSH would emanate in excess of 90 or even 95 dBAs under common conditions found on a construction worksite. It is possible and even likely that all power tools violate OSHA noise limits under certain situations and loading conditions. NIOSH rated two of the identical model tools (identical manufactur er and model number) measured in this thesis: the Bosch 1199VSR hammerdrill and the Milwaukee 6509 corded reciprocating saw. It assigned a single decibel rating of 103 dBAs to the hammerdrill, placing it fourth highest among the ten hammerdrills tested This falls within the range of 92-114 dBAs found in this thesis, with a range of 92-97 in Positions1-5, depending on the scenario, and 114 dBA found at the tool s outer casing. NIOSH rated the Milwaukee re ciprocating saw at a sound pr essure level of 90 dBA, making it the quietest of the se ven reciprocating saws they test ed. This thesis found the same saw to have a range of 15 dBA, from 89-104 dB A. The Position 1-5 readings ranged from 89-97 dBA, depending on the scenario, and 104 dBA at th e tools outer casing. This tool may be less noisy than other reciprocating saws, but the single rating of 90 dBA severely underestimates the projected noise under Position 1 of the Center-of-Room and Near-a-Wall scenarios as well as all positions except directly behind the tool in the Corner-of-Room scenario. These specific study

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55 comparisons clearly demonstrate how misleading a single noise level rating can be and why it is important for workers to know the ways in which they can minimize the decibel level or understand the conditions under which they need greater hearing protection. It is recommended that more sound level testing be conducted on power tools to widen the array of tools measured, as well as expand th e discoveries of this study in the areas of: Loaded versus unloaded conditions Effects of different cutting blade designs on noise and how new designs might lower noise levels; Effects of the wear conditions of cutting blades on noise levels; Further combinations of tools and the effects of combining multiple scenarios, such as a Corner-of-Room situation with multiple to ols being operated in close proximity; Effects of different materials used in constructing nearby walls floors, and ceilings on the noise levels measured under the different scenarios; Comparing decibel levels received at the tool operators right versus left ear. Comparing decibel levels surr ounding a power tool at various locations within a building, where there are objects and walls potentially causing peaks in sound interference patterns that increase the noise received by the operator. It is also recommended that workers be made aware of the range of potential noise levels they can be exposed to while operating their po wer tools in various co nstruction situations. Perhaps an awareness campaign including a simple one-page flyer, showing the range of decibels for various common power tools with illustrations of the most common situations encountered on the jobsite (e.g. Center-of-Room, Corne r-of-Room, and Around-the-Corner) could be distributed to workers. Armed with data from this study and government agency studies, pressure needs to be applied to power tool manufacturers (including their engineers and marketing executives) to insert sound deadening insulation in tool casings. It is clear from this study that each tool has

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56 unique features, in terms of the need for cust omized sound deadening depending on the side of the tool from which noise emanates. Automob ile engines and various fan motors have all become much quieter in recent years due to cust omer demands. Likewi se, purchasers need to insist on tools with absolute decibel ranges less than 90 dBA, not just the relatively quiet reciprocating saw whose decibel ra nge is still dangerously high at 89-104 dBA. Position 5, or behind and above the tool about two feet away, ne eds particular insulation focus, since this study found high readings particularly at that location There also needs to be developed an anal ytical tool, perhaps a computer simulation program, for evaluating the diffe rent conditions and scenarios in which construction workers operate power tools on the jobsite. Ideally, decibel values would be measured for every incremental distance above, below and at angles to the tool, thereby encompassing all possible locations where the operators ear and the ears of nearby co-workers might be when the tool is being operated. This three-dimensional sphere of noise values could be made available, as a standard specifications sheet for each power tool thereby giving workers and their supervisors a comprehensive understanding of expected decibel levels given various conditions.

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57 APPENDIX A NIOSH: SOUND LEVELS FOR POWER TOOLS The plots on the following charts indicate the A-weighted sound power level for tools measured by NIOSH in its laboratory, with the model number given for each manufacturer tested. NIOSH stated the purpose for providing th e plots as follows: Tools with a lower sound power level pose less of a noise ha zard than tools with a higher sound power level. These data plot charts are provided as a courtesy of NIOSH.

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66 APPENDIX B NOISE MEASUREMENT DATA The following tables provide all the noise m easurements taken for each scenario described in chapter 2 of this thesis. TYPE MANUFACTURER MODEL TYPE TECHNICAL SPECS. RATED SPEED (RPM) Sears Craftsman 315.10042 3/8 Chuck Corded 2.5 Amp Variable Speed 0-1200 RPM Drill/Driver Ryobi P206 Chuck Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed 0-1300 RPM DeWalt DC900 Chuck Cordless 36 Volt Variable Speed 0-1600 RPM Hammer Drill Bosch 1199VSR / Chuck Corded 8.5 Amp Variable Speed 0-3000 RPM Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 Type 3 7-1/4 9 Amp Wood Blade 150 Teeth Jig Saw Skil 4395 n/a Variable Orbit 3.2 Amp Variable Speed 0-3200 SPM DeWalt DC330 Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed 0-3000 SPM Reciprocating Saw DeWalt DW938 Cordless 18 Volt Variable Speed 0-2800 SPM Milwaukee 6509 Corded 4 Amp Variable Speed 0-2400 SPM Black and Decker SC500 Type 1 Corded 3.4 Amp Variable Speed 0-6500 SPM Sander Sears Grinder / Sander Craftsman 315.115051 9 2 HP 13 Amp 4600 RPM Sears Belt Sander Craftsman 315.11721 3 7 Amp Belt Size 3 x 21 Makita Finishing Sander B04550 n/a 1.6 Amp 14000 OPM Grinder Sears Craftsman 315.27440 n/a 2.5 Amp 26,500 RPM Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L 7 Blade 8 Amp 7000 RPM Router Black and Decker 7616 Type 1 n/a 5 Amp 23000 RPM Planer Hitachi 370W Electric 3.4 Amp 15000 RPM Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 n/a 40 Watt 2-Speed 10,400 / 12500 SPM

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67 TYPE MANUFACTURER MODEL PHOTO Sears Craftsman 315.10042 Drill/Driver Ryobi P206 DeWalt DC900 Hammer Drill Bosch 1199VSR Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 Type 3 Jig Saw Skil 4395

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68 Jig Saw DeWalt DC330 Reciprocating Saw DeWalt DW938 Milwaukee 6509 Black and DeckerSC500 Type 1 Sander Sears Grinder / Sander Craftsman 315.115051 Sears Belt Sander Craftsman 315.11721 Makita Finishing Sander B04550

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69 Grinder Sears Craftsman 315.27440 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L Router Black and Decker7616 Type 1 Planer Hitachi 370W Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 All the tables that follow include nois e measurement data for specific locations surrounding the power tools and are referred to as positions. Use the diagram below as a key for where each position reading was taken. Wh en standing behind the tool, looking forward: Position 1 was located directly right of the tool three feet; Position 2 was located directly in front of the tool three feet; Position 3 was located directly left of the tool three feet;

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70 Position 4 was located directly behind the tool three feet; Position 5 was located above and approxima tely 15 degrees from azimuth behind the tool, at a distance of tw o feet from the tool; Position 6 was located next to the tools outer casing at a point around the tool that indicated the maximum noise read ing on the sound meter; and Position 7 was used exclusively for the Around-the-Corner measurement scenario, located on the other side of a concrete wall as per figure 2.5. TOOL OPERATOR ABOVE GROUND SURFACE (Reflective Plane) POSITION 2 POSITION 1 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 POSITION 6 BEHIND TOOL FRONT OF TOOL POSITION 3 POSITION 7 (around the corner)

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71 TOOL POSITION 1 POSITION 2 POSITION 3 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 RANGE OF MEASUREMENTS 1 Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 73.0 69.7 68.4 69.6 73.1 70-73 2 Planer Hitachi F-20A 98.8 97.5 96.7 93.9 97.1 94-99 3 Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 86.4 86.1 89.7 83.2 85.5 83-90 4 Sander/Grinder Sears 315.115051 103.0 104.0 104.3 103.9 104.7 103-105 5 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 99.6 100.2 98.5 98.5 100.4 99-100 6 Finishing Sander Makita B04550 93.7 94.1 93.7 92.4 95.7 92-96 7 Jigsaw Skil 4395 96.6 97.1 96.7 96.7 97.5 97-98 8 Cordless Jigsaw DeWalt DC330 18V 96.0 96.7 95.4 96.3 96.4 95-97 9 Cordless Reciprocating Saw DeWalt DW938 18V 94.9 93.6 93.4 93.2 95.4 93-95 10 Reciprocating Saw Milwaukee 6509 91.3 91.1 90.4 89.4 91.5 89-92 11 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L 98.6 97.5 96.3 96.8 97.7 96-99 12 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 96.8 98.2 96.3 95.5 99.4 96-99 13 Handsaw Black & Decker SC500 98.3 98.4 97.3 96.5 98.4 97-98 14 Router Black & Decker 7616 95.6 95.7 95.6 94.1 96.9 94-97 15 Cordless Drill Ryobi P206 18V 76.2 76.7 75.5 75.8 76.6 76-77 16 Cordless Drill DeWalt DC900 36V 82.5 91.8 94.3 81.3 82.4 81-94 17 Corded Drill Sears 315.10042 91.7 91.8 92.7 91.1 93.1 91-93 18 Hammerdrill Bosch 1199VSR 96.6 96.8 96.3 96.6 96.4 96-97 Cordless tools batteries were approximately 75% charged. Corner of Room Noise Measurements (in decibels)

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72 Near a Wall Noise Measurements (in decibels) TOOL POSITION 1 POSITION 2 POSITION 3 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 RANGE OF MEASUREMENTS 1 Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 70.1 67.3 67.2 69.8 70.6 67-71 2 Planer Hitachi F-20A 94.8 94.2 94.9 96.3 96.5 94-97 3 Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 82.9 81.7 82.2 82.9 84.1 82-86 4 Sander/Grinder Sears 315.115051 100.6 98.7 101.0 98.9 100.4 99-101 5 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 98.3 98.0 98.8 97.7 99.4 98-99 6 Finishing Sander Makita B04550 92.5 90.6 91.1 89.7 95.4 90-95 7 Jigsaw Skil 4395 92.9 92.4 93.3 93.3 92.5 92-93 8 Cordless Jigsaw DeWalt DC330 18V 92.6 91.9 92.8 92.0 92.0 92-93 9 Cordless Reciprocating Saw DeWalt DW938 18V 92.6 92.2 92.1 92.3 92.6 92-93 10 Reciprocating Saw Milwaukee 6509 90.7 89.8 89.4 89.6 90.2 89-91 11 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L 97.6 95.9 97.3 97.1 98.2 96-98 12 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 95.9 95.6 95.6 94.8 95.7 95-96 13 Handsaw Black & Decker SC500 97.8 96.7 96.5 96.3 97.5 96-98 14 Router Black & Decker 7616 96.3 93.9 93.9 94.6 97.1 94-97 15 Cordless Drill Ryobi P206 18V 75.3 72.4 73.0 73.5 76.3 72-76 16 Cordless Drill DeWalt DC900 36V 77.8 77.0 77.8 77.3 78.5 77-79 17 Corded Drill Sears 315.10042 87.3 88.5 88.1 88.0 88.1 87-89 18 Hammerdrill Bosch 1199VSR 93.8 92.5 93.5 92.4 93.1 92-94

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73 Center of the Room Measurements (in decibels) TOOL POSITION 1 POSITION 2 POSITION 3 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 POSITION 6 5 (Max.) RANGE OF MEASURE MENTS 1 Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 L: 85.7 U: 69.9 L: 86.8 U: 70.0 L: 88.9 U:69.9 L: 87.3 U: 67.5 L: 93.4 U: 69.7 U: 88.7 L: 86-93 U: 68-89 2 Planer Hitachi F-20A 95.9 95.7 96.2 96.2 94.8 111.3 95-111 3 Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 82.4 82.9 84.2 83.5 83.8 100.7 82-101 4 Sander/Grinder Sears 315.115051 103.8 102.5 102.9 103.2 103.6 110.8 103-111 5 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 Loaded: 4 Sanding wood stud 98.4 99.1 98.0 98.0 U: 99.9 L: 101.4 U: 113.6 L: 116.1 U:98-114 6 Finishing Sander Makita B04550 92.1 93.1 93.6 93.2 93.9 104.2 92-104 7 Jigsaw Skil 4395 96.3 95.8 96.1 95.8 96.4 108.8 96-109 8 Cordless Jigsaw DeWalt DC330 18V 1 95.6 94.1 94.9 94.4 95.8 106.7 94-107 9 Cordless Reci p rocatin g Saw 92.8 92.4 93.0 91.6 93.2 102.9 92-103 10 Reciprocating Saw Milwaukee 6509 91.0 88.9 90.5 90.4 90.1 103.6 89-104 11 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L Loaded: 3 Porcelain Tile 96.7 95.8 96.6 96.8 U: 98.2 L: 106.2 U:111.2 L: 117.5 U:96-111 12 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 Loaded: 2 Normal Blade Worn Blade 96.1 95.0 97.1 95.7 U: 96.7 L: 101.4 L: 107.2 U: 110.6 L: 112.1 L: 114.5 U:95-111 13 Handsaw Black & Decker SC500 97.2 96.3 98.2 97.6 97.4 112.5 96-113 14 Router Black & Decker 7616 94.5 94.3 95.0 94.7 96.7 105.7 94-106 15 Cordless Drill R y obi P206 18V 1 75.6 75.7 75.8 75.2 78.2 94.1 75-94 16 Cordless Drill DeWalt DC900 36V 1 83.0 82.8 82.5 82.6 82.2 96.4 82-96 17 Corded Drill Sears 315.10042 92.1 91.3 92.2 92.0 91.5 103.9 91-104 18 Hammerdrill Bosch 1199VSR 95.4 95.7 95.8 96.0 95.2 113.6 95-114

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74 Around-the-Corner from Tool Measurements (in decibels) TOOL POSITION 7 1 Detail Carver R y obi DC50063.5 2 Planer Hitachi F-20A88.3 3 Die Grinder Sears 315.2744074.3 4 Sander/Grinder Sears 315.11505188.9 5 Belt Sander Sears 315.1172190.8 6 Finishing Sander Makita B0455084.2 7 Jigsaw Skil 439580.7 8 Cordless Jigsaw DeWalt DC330 18V*79.4 9 Cordless Reciprocating Saw DeWalt DW938 18V*80.5 10 Reciprocating Saw Milwaukee 650981.2 11 Wet Tile Saw Husk y THD950L 88.5 12 Circular Saw Black & Decker 739088.2 13 Handsaw Black & Decker SC500 88.6 14 Router Black & Decker 761687.2 15 Cordless Drill R y obi P206 18V *67.6 16 Cordless Drill DeWalt DC900 36V *65.1 17 Corded Drill Sears 315.10042 76.0 18 Hammerdrill Bosch 1199VSR 81.3 Footnotes to Center-of-Room Measurements: 1 Cordless tools were at approxi mately 75% charged. DeWalt DC900 36V set at low speed. 2 Black & Decker 7390 circular saw was loaded with the following: Normal Blade : a 150-tooth plywood blade in normal condition, cutting a Southern Pine premium-grade 2x4 stud. Worn Blade : a 20-tooth fast-cut wood blade in worn condition, cutting the same Southern Pine premium grade 2x4 stud. 3 Husky THD 950L wet tile saw under loaded condition, cutting an 18 square porcelain tile using a 7 wet tile saw blade in new condition. 4 Sears 3 Belt Sander under loaded condition, using #80 sandpaper on a Southern Pine 2x4 wood stud. 5 Position 6 is j ust outside the outer casin g of the tool at a p oint where the maximum decibel level was recorde d .

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75 Two Tools in Combination (in decibels) TOOL COMBINATION POSITION 1 POSITION 2 POSITION 3 POSITION 4 POSITION 5 POSITION 6 1 1 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 -separately Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 -separately COMBINATION 1 94.7 100.2 100.6 96.1 98.1 100.9 95.3 100.5 100.7 95.3 100.4 102.0 95.5 100.5 102.2 106.4 112.6 111.3 (at midpoint) 2 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 -separately Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L -separately COMBINATION 1 94.7 96.4 98.5 96.1 97.3 98.2 95.3 96.1 98.2 95.3 95.2 99.4 95.5 97.9 101.6 106.4 112.1 102.6 (at midpoint) 3 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 -separately Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L -separately COMBINATION 1 100.2 96.4 100.7 98.1 97.3 101.4 100.5 96.1 100.7 100.4 95.2 100.3 100.5 97.9 102.1 112.6 112.1 105.4 (at midpoint) 4 Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 -separately Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 -separately COMBINATION 1 71.7 82.2 82.7 70.6 82.3 83.1 71.3 83.2 83.9 70.0 83.2 83.4 73.6 84.6 84.0 93.6 96.6 97.5 Position 6 measured the maximum decibel level observed at the outer casing of the power tool, except in the combination case. The reading for the Combination at Position 6 is the reading taken at the midpoint between the two tools. For Combination 1, the midpoint was 1 inch from each tool. For Combination 2, the midpoint was 6 inches between the tools. For Combination 3. the midpoint was 12 inches between the tools, and for Combination 4, the midpoint was 1 inch between the tools.

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76 Measurements at a Distance from Tools Indoors (in decibels) TOOL Distance of 3 feet Distance of 4 feet Decrease in Decibels Distance of 6 feet Decrease in Decibels Distance of 8 feet Decrease in Decibels 1 Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 69.9 68.4 1.0 67.5 0.9 64.3 3.2 2 Planer Hitachi F-20A 96.2 95.2 1.0 94.1 1.1 93.8 0.3 3 Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 84.2 82.8 1.4 81.2 1.6 80.3 0.9 5 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 98.0 97.2 0.8 96.2 1.0 95.0 1.2 6 Finishing Sander Makita B04550 93.6 92.7 0.9 91.9 0.8 91.5 0.4 10 Reciprocating Saw Milwaukee 6509 90.5 88.8 1.7 87.3 1.5 86.6 0.7 11 Wet Tile Saw Husky THD950L 96.8 95.4 1.4 94.2 1.2 93.1 0.9 12 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 97.1 96.1 1.0 95.2 0.9 93.1 2.1 13 Handsaw Black & Decker SC500 98.2 95.9 2.3 94.6 1.3 93.8 0.8 14 Router Black & Decker 7616 95.0 93.1 1.9 92.4 0.7 91.7 0.7 15 Cordless Drill Ryobi P206 18V 75.8 73.6 2.2 72.6 1.0 71.9 0.7 AVERAGE DECREASE IN NOISE (in decibels) 1.42 1.09 1.08 Readings were the highest measured around the tool at the indicated distance. All tools were unloaded and located in the center of the enclosed room.

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77Measurements at a Distance from Tools Outdoors (in decibels) TOOL Reading at Outer Casing 10 20 Decrease 10 to 20ft. 30 Decrease 20 to 30ft. 40 Decrease 30 to 40ft. 50 Decrease 40 to 50ft. 60 Decrease 50 to 60ft. 1 Detail Carver Ryobi DC500 92.9 58.8 51.3 7.5 50.2 1.1 49.6 0.6 48.0 1.6 48.0 0.0 1 2 Planer Hitachi F-20A 113.9 83.0 75.8 7.2 72.0 3.8 71.8 0.2 69.7 2.1 67.5 2.2 3 Die Grinder Sears 315.27440 95.1 70.2 64.4 5.8 60.8 3.6 58.8 2.0 57.1 1.7 56.3 0.8 5 Belt Sander Sears 315.11721 111.0 83.3 77.5 5.8 74.4 3.1 71.5 2.9 70.3 1.2 69.4 0.9 6 Finishing Sander Makita B04550 106.1 82.5 75.3 7.2 72.1 3.2 70.3 1.8 69.7 0.6 69.1 0.6 12 Circular Saw Black & Decker 7390 104.3 77.7 71.5 6.2 68.3 3.2 66.2 2.1 65.0 1.2 63.7 1.3 13 Handsaw Black & Decker SC500 110.3 83.5 77.3 6.2 73.6 3.7 72.0 1.6 69.6 2.4 68.6 1.0 14 Router Black & Decker 7616 107.4 77.2 71.9 5.3 68.4 3.5 66.7 1.7 65.1 1.6 63.5 1.6 AVERAGE DECREASE IN NOISE (in 6.4 3.2 1.6 1.5 1.1 The ambient noise (power tool turned off) at the time this tools noise reading was taken, was 48.1, which accounts for the no further decreases in sound after 40 ft. This skewed (underestimated) the average calculation for all th e change readings from 50 to 60ft. by 0.1 dBA.

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78 LIST OF REFERENCES AFSCME. (1997). Noise, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees accessed on October 3, 2006. http://www.afscme.org/publications/2887.cfm Cai, J., Chennagowni, S., Coombs, D., Giachetto, R. M., and Kulkarni, P. (2003). Study and Control of Noise from Power Tools, University of Cincinnati Acoustics Callahan, G. (2004). Noise Levels of Common Construction Power Tools, Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science, University of Florida. Center for the Advancement of Health (2001) Noise-induced Hearing Loss: Common Condition Easily Prevented, Facts of Life Vol. 6, No. 5, July-August. Elgun, S. (1999). Noise and Vibration Hazards Unpublished Occupational Safety Topics, Farmingdale State University of Ne w York, accessed on October 3, 2006. http://info.lu.farmingdale.edu/ depts/m et/ind308/noise.html Fouts, B.E. II (2002). Investigation into Testi ng Methods and Noise Control of Industrial Power Tools, Thesis Submitted to the Division of Research and Advanced Studies of the University of Cincinnati in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement s for the Degree of Masters of Science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the College of Engineering, University of Cincinnati Harris, M. (2006). Noise Measurement and Anal ysis in Construction Management, Unpublished research paper, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Hough, D. (2005). Do You Hear What I Hear?, Now Hear This!, accessed on October 3, 2006. http://www.plugup.com/doyouhear.php ISO Standard 1999 (1990). Acoustics Determination of occupational noise exposure and estimation of noise-induced hearing impairment International Organization for Standardization, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. Keith, R. (1981). Noise control for buildings, manufacturing plants, equipment and products, Houston, Texas: Hoover & Keith. Kelso, D. and Perez, A. (2006). Noise Control Terms Made Somewhat Easier, Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, accessed on October 3, 2006. http://www.nonoise.org/library/diction/soundict.htm Laborers (2006). Best Practices Guide Controlling Noise on Construction Sites, Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North America, accessed on October 13, 2006 http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?objectid=FE76D86F-D56F-E6F A-99A606116D8792FC Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North Am erica (2002). The Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO Response to OSHA s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Hearing Conservation in Construction, accessed on October 3, 2006. http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?objectid=BC342716-D56F-E6F A-93DD04583CC7F48F

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79 Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North Am erica (2005). Hearing Conservation Squelched at OSHA, accessed on October 3, 2006. http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cf m ?objectid=B9D2DB7D-D56FE6FA-906591BF1CA7663B London Construction Now! (2006 ). National: New Noise Regulations Will Cut Level by 70%, Health & Safety Executive, accessed on 10/13/2006. http://www.contructionnow.co.uk/lo ndon/dailynews.asp? week=03/04/2006 NIOSH (2006). Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Workplace Solutions, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health accessed on October 13, 2006. http://www2a.cdc.gov/niosh-powertools/qryTools_alt.asp?manufacturer NIOSH (1996). Criteria for a Recommended Standa rd Occupational Noise Exposure, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Revised Criteria, DHHS(NIOSH) draft document 96XXX, Washington, D.C. NIOSH (1998). Criteria for a Recommended Standard Occupational Noise Exposure National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Revised Criteria, Pub. No. 98-126 Washington, D.C. Neitzel, R. and Seixas, N. (2006). Noise on the Job Can Damage Your Hearing: Tilesetters, Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH ), accessed on October 3, 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/ docs/d0700/d000709/d000709.ht ml Neitzel, R., Seixas, N., Camp, J., and Yost, M. (1999). An Assessment of Occupational Noise Exposures in Four Construction Trades, Ameri can Industrial Hygiene Association Journal Vol. 60, pgs. 807-817. NPC (2004). NPC Resources: Massachusetts Bi g Dig Noise Control Law, Noise Pollution Clearinghouse Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Section 721.560, Construction Noise Control http://www.nonoise.org/resource/construc/bigdig.htm OSHA (2002). Hearing Conservation Program for Co nstruction Workers, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 29 CFR Part 1926, Docket No. H-011G. Price, G.R. and Kalb, J.T. (1991). Insights in to Hazards from Intense Im pulses from a Mathematical Model of the Ear, J. of Acoustical Soc. Am. Vol. 90, pgs. 219-227. Smoorenburg, G.F., de Laat, J.A. and Plomp, R. (1982). The Effect of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss on the Intelligibility of Speech in Noise, Scandinavian Audiology Supplementum 16, pgs. 123-133. Smoorenburg, G.F. (1992). Speech Reception in Quiet and in Noisy Conditioins by Individuals with Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Relation to Their Tone Audiogram, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 91(1), pgs. 421-437. EPA (1976). About Sound, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Washington, D.C. Winston, S. (2000). OSHA Plans to Design H earing Rules for Construction Industry, Engineering News Record, Vol. 244, No. 14, Pg. 31.

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80 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH John Nickels is a Master of Science and Mast er of Business Adm ini stration candidate at the University of Florida. His Bachelor of Science degree in finan ce was obtained from the University of Florida in 1984. His first career was in private banking and investments. He has been licensed as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) since 1994 a nd was licensed as a registered investment representative thr ough the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) for over 10 years. He worked for four of the nation s largest financial institutions, most recently as Managing Director of Northern Trust Bank of Florid a. He is currently employed in the area of bank oversight, as a Financial Institution Sp ecialist with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). His studies at the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction leading to the M.S. degree rounded out his personal interest in real estate development, as he spent so much of his career handling the financial side of real estate transactions but never understanding the means and methods by which buildings are constr ucted. His research in to the safety aspects of construction was spawned by his work as an a ssistant superintendent at a large residential construction jobsite. He perceived a lack of understanding and awareness of the harmful impacts of high noise levels on the hearing of construction workers. He found a general lack of data to aid in the reduction of noise levels, in pa rticular, of commonly found power tools.