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Farmers' work-day noise exposure

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Objective: This study aims to understand the extent of farmers' exposure to hazardous noise, and trial and test the ability of an on-farm noise audit report to improve awareness and preventative action towards farm based noise hazards. Design: Visits were made to working farms where noise and dosimetry measurements undertaken. During return visits, the noise measurements were explained in a brief report. A follow-up questionnaire was implemented gathering feedback on the use or otherwise of the report. Setting: Working farms in Western Victoria and SE Queensland including dairy, beef, wool, prime lamb and cropping. Participants: Participants were 14 female and 37 male farm workers. Interventions: Noise exposure assessment of daily activities through dosimetry; measurements of noisy tasks and machinery; supply and interpretation of a noise audit report. Main outcome measures: Participants were supplied with a 'noise report' of their workplace together with an explanation of the report's meaning to farm workers. Results: Men and women have similar at risk exposures. The average noise exposure was 1.09Pa2h (LAeq,8h=85.3dB). This implies 163000 Australian agricultural workers are at risk from hazardous noise. On-farm noise audit reports were a relevant and valuable feedback to farmers in relation to their potential noise hazards. Conclusions: Of those measured 51%, and by extrapolation 163000 Australian agricultural workers, have noise exposure levels greater than the recommended Australian Standard of 1.01Pa2h (85dB). Men and women are equally exposed. On-farm noise audit reports are an effective feedback to increase awareness and improve hearing health.




Williams, W., Brumby, S., Calvano, A., Hatherell, T., Mason, H., Mercer-Grant, C., & Hogan, A. (2015). Farmers’ work-day noise exposure. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 23(2), 67–73.

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