Noise exposure experienced by construction site workers

Project No. BIA 4044


completed 03/1996


At construction sites working procedures, engines and equipment are used to accelerate the progress of work and to decrease the physical strain. Often a high exposure to noise is associated to that. Single high peaks are as dangerous for human hearing as daily exposure to noise with a mean sound level of 85 dB(A) or more during several years. Directive 86/188/EEC on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to noise at work requires that if the daily individual exposure exceeds the value 85 dB(A) or peak levels of impulse noise exceed 200 Pa (140 dB SPL) appropriate measures for the protection of the workers have to be taken. As noise at construction sites is often altering both local as well as temporal it is difficult to determine typical, temporal averaged sound levels. For the protection of the workers it is important to know by which activities harmful noise is generated.


Taking into acount the often altering noise generation at construction site workplaces the working group of the institutions for statuatory accident insurance and prevention in the building trade let BIA develope a measurement procedure based on the person-related determination of the noise strain. The noise value determined for a specific profile of activities (profession-related description of the activities) is called rating level. In the course of the project a total of 1000 daily rating levels could be determined.


The rating level of a specific profile of activities indicates how much a worker of that profile is exposed to noise. About 40 specific profiles of activities are available. These results form an important basis for measures of protection of the workers: noise-intensive machines and equipment can be designed with a low noise emission and hearing protectors can be selected aim-related.

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA

construction industry

Type of hazard:



Lärm, Belastung, Messverfahren

Description, key words:

sound level, harmful noise, construction sites