Quieter Jackhammers

Quieter jackhammers are breakers with mufflers that reduce noise exposure during concrete or pavement demolition.

Description:

Quieter jackhammers are an engineering control that can reduce noise exposure. These jackhammers are muffled, or silenced to reduce the sound level of the tool, measured in decibels on an A-weighted scale (dBA). Pneumatic or electric jackhammers use an internal hammer to strike the back of the bit, known as the shank or chuck, which impacts the concrete or pavement. The hammer striking the bit is the main source of noise created by the tool, and mufflers or silencers help to absorb or block the sound at the source before it reaches the ears of workers.

A jackhammer is recognized by OSHA in the OSHA Noise Standard as a major noise source. Through the use of a muffler or silencer, noise produced by the tool is reduced. However, sound pressure levels will still be above the OSHA permissible exposure limit and workers should wear hearing protection for more than intermittent use.

 

Makita HM1810 Breaker Hammer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  
  • Cost: $1,600 (verified 7/2011)
  • Chuck/Shank Size: 1 1/8 x 6 inches
  • Blows Per Minute: 1,100
  • Overall Length: 32.5 inches
  • Power Requirements: 120 volts, 15 amps
  • Weight: 71.3 pounds
  • Sound Pressure Level: 107 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average is 90 dBA)

Atlas Copco Breaker Hammers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Model

Cost

Blows Per Minute

Airflow Requirements (cubic feet per minute)

Weight (pounds)

Overall Length (inches)

TEX 230PE

$1,400

1,320

63 at 92 pounds per square inch

60

26.25

TEX 280PE

$1,500

1,230

68 at 92 pounds per square inch

69

27.25

(verified 7/2011)

  • Chuck/Shank Size: 1 ¼ or 1 1/8 x 6 inches
  • Sound Pressure Level: 92-93 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average is 90 dBA)

 

Chicago Pneumatic Breaker Hammers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Model

Cost

Blows Per Minute

Airflow Requirements (cubic feet per minute)

Weight (pounds)

Overall Length (inches)

CP 1230 SVR

$1,700

1,300

68 at 90 pounds per square inch

76.0

28.75

CP 1240 SVR

$1,900

1,150

85 at 90 pounds per square inch

95.0

30.9

(verified 7/2011)

  • Chuck/Shank Size: 1 ¼ or 1 1/8 x 6 inches
  • Sound Pressure Level: 96-99 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average is 90 dBA)

Sullair Breaker Hammers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Model

Cost

Blows Per Minute

Airflow Requirements (cubic feet per minute)

Weight (pounds)

Overall Length (inches)

MPB-60AS

$2,000

1,360

48 at 100 pounds per square inch

71.5

26.75

MPB-90AS

$2,200

1,380

62 at 100 pounds per square inch

94.0

27.1

(verified 7/2011)

  • Chuck/Shank Size: 1 ¼ or 1 1/8 x 6 inches
  • Sound Pressure Level: 96 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average is 90 dBA)

Risks Addressed:

Over time, exposure to noise levels at or above 85 decibels will lead to permanent hearing loss. The NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) for occupational noise is 85 decibels on an A-weighted scale as an 8-hour time weighted average. OSHA limits noise exposure to 90 decibels, also on an A-weighted scale and as an 8-hour time weighted average (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1998). A-weighting is an adjustment that gives lower frequencies less weight or significance than higher frequencies. An A-weighted sound level more closely resembles the human ear’s response to noise.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) assigned noise a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) of 85 dBA as an 8-hour time weighted average. Exposure to 88 dBA is limited to 4 hours, exposure to 91 dBA is limited to 2 hours, exposure to 94 dBA is limited to 1 hour and so on. (ACGIH, 2011).

TLVs for Noise

 

Duration per Day

Sound Level (dBA)

Hours

24

80

16

82

8

85

4

88

2

91

1

94

Minutes

30

97

15

100

7.50

103

3.75

106

1.88

109

0.94

112

Noise exposure has also been associated with temporary hearing loss, perception of noisiness and masking, increased stress, fatigue, disturbance of sleep and decreased concentration and mental performance (Osada, 1988).  Noise-induced hearing loss starts in the higher frequencies (3,000 to 6,000 Hz) and slowly develops from chronic exposure to excessive sound. Sound must exert a shearing force on the hair cells lining the inner ear in order to be perceived, and if the force is too strong, cell damage and cell death can occur (Berger et al., 2003).

The Nonprofit Risk Management Center states that typical jackhammer noise emissions are around 130 decibels (Hearing Protection, 2008).


How Risks are Reduced:

These jackhammers are muffled, or silenced to reduce the sound level of the tool, measured in decibels on an A-weighted scale (dBA). Pneumatic or electric jackhammers use an internal hammer to strike the back of the bit, known as the shank or chuck, which impacts the concrete or pavement. The hammer striking the bit is the main source of noise created by the tool, and mufflers or silencers help to absorb or block the sound at the source before it reaches the ears of workers.

Using noise control techniques in jackhammers will reduce hazardous levels of noise and the extent that it reduces sound levels is expected to be significant. Although exposure is not reduced to zero, significant reduction has been reported. The extent of the reduction is dependent on the type of jackhammer used, the impact strength of the hammer, the rate of hammer blows, and the nature and amount of work. While there is little published sampling data on these specific tools, evidence indicates exposure to noise can be significantly reduced through the use of quieter jackhammers.

In 1967, the Citizens for a Quieter City in New York put on a demonstration of quieter construction equipment. One of those, a muffled jackhammer, reduced noise output from 96 dBA to 82 dBA at a distance of 25 feet. The British Building Research Station tested a quieter jackhammer and concluded that considerably muffling the tool did not significantly reduce performance (Anthrop, 1970).

In 2006, Zo-Air Company, Inc. developed, but did not market, the “No Racket Jacket” to fit over a jackhammer and muffle noise created by the tool. It encloses the front head, exhaust and cylinder case with an opening at the bottom for the shank or chuck to travel through. The No Racket Jacket was made of three layers of material that are sewn together and described as “neoprene-like,” which universally fit most pavement breakers. With the use of the jacket, sound levels were decreased 3-10 dBA at a distance of 50 feet (Zwerling, 2006).

Industrial hygienists use sound level meters or noise dosimeters to determine noise levels on construction sites and recommend the use of quieter techniques to prevent hearing loss and reduce the risk of accidents. Proper maintenance and retrofitting existing equipment can decrease excess sound as well (Suter, 2002).

Atlas Copco states that the integrated silencer on their breakers reduces noise emissions up to 50%.


Effects on Productivity:

Lower noise levels may reduce stress and fatigue, and increase the concentration and mental performance of workers. Improved worker health, comfort and concentration may lead to greater productivity. Reduced sound can also lower the risk of accidents as communication is easier among workers.


Additional Considerations:

Jackhammers may be powered by an air compressor (pneumatic) or electricity.  The use of electric-powered equipment poses the risk of four main types of injuries: electric shock, burns, falls, and electrocution (NIOSH Electrical Safety).  Equipment that has been poorly maintained poses greater risks of electrical fires and explosions. (OSHA Electrical Safety).  The electrical generator or air compressor powering the jackhammer may also be a significant noise source. Buy or lease a quieter compressor or generator, consider how to increase the distance to the worker, and shield it with noise absorbing barriers.

Construction workers are exposed to hazardous dust containing respirable silica when using jackhammers to break concrete or pavement.  A vacuum dust collection system or water should be used with the jackhammer to control the airborne dust and reduce exposures.

As is the case with any construction equipment, users should follow manufacturer scheduled maintenance safety recommendations and comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations.


Hazards Addressed:

  • General Labor
    • Jackhammer rock and concrete surfaces

Availability

Atlas Copco Breaker Hammers
contact 1-800-732-6762

Sullair Breaker Hammers
contact 1-800-785-5247 sullaircompressors@sullair.com

Chicago Pneumatic Breaker Hammers
To obtain information, visit https://www.cp.com/en or contact 1-800-760-4049

Makita HM1810 Breaker Hammer
To obtain information, visit http://www.makita.com or contact 1-800-462-5482

Return on Investment

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