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The health condition of forest workers exposed to noise and vibration produced by chain saws

The health condition of forest workers exposed to noise and vibration produced by chain saws

Medycyna Pracy 63(1): 19-29

Lumberjacks' working conditions are difficult due to the presence of numerous occupational hazards. Physical factors that pose a health risk are noise and vibration produced by chain saws. Excessive exposure of lumberjacks to noise and vibration can lead to the development of hand-arm vibration syndrome and hearing loss. The aim of the work was to analyze the health condition of forestry workers exposed to occupational physical hazards. A preliminary, questionnaire-based assessment of health status was conducted in 22 chain saw operators. In a group of 15 forestry workers audiometry, vibrotactile perception thresholds and cold provocation test were performed. X-ray diagnostic imaging of upper limbs was also done. At the same time noise and vibration produced by chain saws used in forestry was measured. Vascular or neurological disorders were found in nearly half of tested workers with seniority from 2 to 20 years; 40% of the surveyed was diagnosed with hearing impairment. An 8-hour energy equivalent vibration level measured on chain saws was 4.6 m/s2. An 8-hour equivalent sound pressure level was 99.1 dB(A). The threshold limit values for noise and vibration are exceeded at woodcutters' posts. There are changes in lumberjacks' health resulting from exposure to harmful physical agents. Preventive actions are urgently needed to be addressed, especially to people employed in single-handed forestry companies.

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Accession: 056355964

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PMID: 22774461

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