The BG responsible for the construction industry requires reliable, statistically validated data on noise exposure at workplaces on construction sites as a basis for effective prevention measures and for the assessment of noise-related occupational diseases.
Owing to the variation in exposure, the risk of damage to human hearing at construction site workplaces is difficult to assess in accordance with BGV B 3 (UVV "Noise" accident prevention regulation)/the OSH regulation governing noise and vibration. The objective of this study was to provide statistically validated mean values and standard deviations of the noise exposure for the following occupational groups and tasks: fitter, scaffolder, formwork setter, façade construction worker, rail track layer, plasterer, bricklayer (supplementary measurements in all cases); and pipe layer, mason and demolition work (additional occupations). For the first group of occupations, measurement results were already available from older projects; the working conditions were however believed to have changed, in some cases considerably. Finally, dosimetry methods were to be used for the performance of additional measurements by which the existing assumed exposure situation can be recorded.
The dosimetry method required for this project was developed in the early nineteen-eighties by the BGIA - Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance. This measurement method was used in the preceding BGIA projects for investigation of the corresponding noise exposure levels in a range of occupations. As in the previous projects, the LAeq (A-weighted equivalent continuous sound level) was to be recorded by dosimetry methods for the following occupations: fitter, scaffolder, formwork setter, façade construction worker, rail track layer, pipe layer, plasterer, bricklayer, mason and demolition work.
The noise exposure was assessed in accordance with the UVV accident prevention regulation governing noise and with DIN 45 645, "Determination of rating levels from measurements - Part 2: Noise immissions at the work place". Provisions resulting from the new EU Directive 2003/10/EC on the "minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (noise)" were considered accordingly.
Typical rating levels for three further occupations in the construction sector (pipe layer, mason and demolition work) were added to the noise exposure measurements already conducted for various occupations in the sector. Supplementary measurements were performed for six occupations which had already been studied in earlier projects, since changes in the occupations had been observed (use of new technologies, machines and materials). The results are relevant to retrospective assessment of exposure (investigations into cases of suspected occupational disease). The findings can also be used as a basis for the decisions concerning noise protection measures which are required by the OSH regulation governing noise and vibration. This particularly applies to the selection of suitable hearing protection equipment. Machines generating high noise levels can also be identified with the aid of the studies, and suitable noise abatement measures defined if necessary.
construction industryType of hazard:
Prävention, Gefährdungsbeurteilung, LärmDescription, key words:
typical occupational noise impact, construction site workplaces, rating level, fitter, scaffolder, formwork setter, façade construction worker, rail track layer, pipe layer, plasterer, bricklayer, mason, demolition work, worker-related measurement, noise dosimeter, statistically validated data