Exposure to infrasonic noise in agriculture

University of Medical Sciences in Poznań 2. Dezydery Chłapowski Research Institute
Ann Agric Environ Med 2017;24(1):86–89
Introduction and objectives:
Although exposure to audible noise has been examined in many publications, the sources of infrasound in agriculture have not been fully examined and presented. The study presents the assessment of exposure to infrasound from many sources at workplaces in agriculture with examples of possible ergonomic and health consequences caused by such exposure.

Material and Methods:
Workers’-perceived infrasonic noise levels were examined for 118 examples of moving and stationary agricultural machines (modern and old cab-type tractors, old tractors without cabins, small tractors, grinders, chargers, forage mixers, grain cleaners, conveyors, bark sorters and combine-harvesters). Measurements of infrasound were taken with the use of class 1 instruments (digital sound analyzer DSA-50 digital and acoustic calibrator). Noise level measurements were performed in accordance with PN-Z-01338:2010, PN-EN ISO 9612:2011 and ISO 9612:2009.

Results and conclusions:
The most intense sources of infrasound in the study were modern and old large size types agricultural machinery (tractors, chargers and combined-harvesters, and stationary forage mixers with ventilation). The G-weighted infrasound levels were significant and at many analyzed workplaces stayed within or exceeded the occupational exposure limit (LG eq, 8h = 102 dB) when the duration of exposure is longer than 22 min./8-hours working day (most noisy – modern cab-type tractors), 46 min./8 hours working day (most noisy – old type cab-tractors), 73 min./8 hours working day (most noisy – old tractors without cabins), 86 min./8-hours working day (most noisy – combine-harvesters) and 156 min./8 hours working day (most noisy – stationary forage mixers with ventilation). All measured machines generated infrasonic noise exceeded the value LG eq, Te= 86 dB (occupational exposure limit for workplaces requiring maintained mental concentration). A very important harmful factor is infrasound exposure for pregnant women and adolescents at workplaces in agriculture. Very valuable work can be technical limiting exposure to infrasound from new and used agricultural machinery. The technical limitation of infrasound caused by both old and new agricultural machinery can be invaluable from the work point of view.

Bartosz Bilski   
University of Medical Sciences in Poznań 2. Dezydery Chłapowski Research Institute