Vibration and Noise Exposure during Pre-Commercial Thinning Operations: What Are the Ergonomic Benefits of the Latest Generation Professional-Grade Battery-Powered Chainsaws?

2021 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Vibration and Noise Exposure during Pre-Commercial Thinning Operations: What Are the Ergonomic Benefits of the Latest Generation Professional-Grade Battery-Powered Chainsaws?​
Huber, M.; Hoffmann, S.; Brieger, F.; Hartsch, F.; Jaeger, D.   & Sauter, U. H.​ (2021) 
Forests12(8) pp. 1120​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081120 

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Authors
Huber, Martin; Hoffmann, Stephan; Brieger, Frauke; Hartsch, Florian; Jaeger, Dirk ; Sauter, Udo Hans
Abstract
In order to compare the vibration and noise exposure of STIHL’s battery-powered MSA 220 C and the combustion driven MS 201 C, a professional operator was monitored during a pre-commercial thinning operation in a twenty-year-old hardwood stand. The vibration levels were measured with a tri-axial accelerometer on the front and rear handle of both the chainsaws, and assigned to five different work elements using a video documentation. Additionally, noise levels were recorded in one-minute intervals, with a dosemeter worn by the operator. The results show that battery-powered chainsaws, when compared to combustion-driven chainsaws, can reduce the daily vibration exposure by more than 45% and the noise dose by about 78.4%, during pre-commercial thinning tasks. Replacing combustion-driven chainsaws with battery-powered ones is therefore generally recommended, to reduce occupational health risks for operators, in this respect. However, the daily vibration exposure of about 2.42 m/s2, caused by the battery-powered chainsaw on the front handle, is still very close to the daily exposure action value set by the EU directives for health and safety requirements. The daily noise exposure of 89.18 dB(A) even exceeds the upper exposure action value. Consequently, a further reduction in the vibration exposure during work is desirable. With respect to noise exposure, additional measures must be implemented for conformity with the current safety standards, making the use of hearing protectors mandatory for electric chainsaws, too.
In order to compare the vibration and noise exposure of STIHL’s battery-powered MSA 220 C and the combustion driven MS 201 C, a professional operator was monitored during a pre-commercial thinning operation in a twenty-year-old hardwood stand. The vibration levels were measured with a tri-axial accelerometer on the front and rear handle of both the chainsaws, and assigned to five different work elements using a video documentation. Additionally, noise levels were recorded in one-minute intervals, with a dosemeter worn by the operator. The results show that battery-powered chainsaws, when compared to combustion-driven chainsaws, can reduce the daily vibration exposure by more than 45% and the noise dose by about 78.4%, during pre-commercial thinning tasks. Replacing combustion-driven chainsaws with battery-powered ones is therefore generally recommended, to reduce occupational health risks for operators, in this respect. However, the daily vibration exposure of about 2.42 m/s2, caused by the battery-powered chainsaw on the front handle, is still very close to the daily exposure action value set by the EU directives for health and safety requirements. The daily noise exposure of 89.18 dB(A) even exceeds the upper exposure action value. Consequently, a further reduction in the vibration exposure during work is desirable. With respect to noise exposure, additional measures must be implemented for conformity with the current safety standards, making the use of hearing protectors mandatory for electric chainsaws, too.
Issue Date
2021
Journal
Forests 
Organization
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Arbeitswissenschaft und Verfahrenstechnologie 
eISSN
1999-4907
Language
English
Sponsor
Eva Mayr-Stihl Stiftung, Waiblingen, Germany

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