Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health
ISSN (Print): 2334-3397 ISSN (Online): 2334-3494 Website: Editor-in-chief: Dibyendu Banerjee
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2017, 5(2), 30-35
DOI: 10.12691/jephh-5-2-1
Open AccessArticle

Occupational Noise Exposure to Masonry Saw Cutting Materials

Adriano A. R. Barbosa1, and Stelamaris R. Bertoli1

1Federal Institute of Sao Paulo & School of Civil Engineering, University of Campinas, PO Box 6021, Campinas City, São Paulo State 13083-970, Brazil

Pub. Date: March 31, 2017

Cite this paper:
Adriano A. R. Barbosa and Stelamaris R. Bertoli. Occupational Noise Exposure to Masonry Saw Cutting Materials. Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2017; 5(2):30-35. doi: 10.12691/jephh-5-2-1


Despite a widespread recognition of the impacts of noise on hearing and other aspects of health, noise exposure in industry remains a significant problem, especially in the construction industry where noise exposure levels of workers are high, especially due to the use of manual equipment and machines used in constructions sites. The masonry saw is a portable power tool widely used in construction in small cuts and finishes for floors, tiles, bricks and woods. It stands out for versatility, lightness and its ergonomics. As part of efforts to identify sources of noise pollution from construction, a noise exposure is developed here for the occupational assessment from masonry saws, which are electric cutters that are commonly used in the industry. Different building materials commonly used in Brazil are used with the masonry saw in their conditions of loading and operation. The proposed methodology evaluates the noise generated during cutting with equipment in accordance with ISO 3744:2010 which specifies methods of measuring sound pressure levels on a surface enveloping the noise source in an environment that approximates an acoustic free field over a reflecting plane and the standard ISO 9612:2009 which specifies an engineering method for measuring workers' exposure to noise in a working environment and calculating the noise exposure level. The cutting of different building materials was louder than the disengaged saw. The highest observed sound pressure level was 106.9 dB(A) at operator ear and 99.1 dB(A) at 2 meters from the source. The smallest difference observed between the cutting and disengaged saw was 7.8 dB(A). Noise generated by the saw was quantitatively assessed. An occupational analysis illustrates that the sound levels generated in operations exceeded the tolerances permitted without protection. The subject is relevant to anticipating risks in the workplace in activities with the masonry saw cutting various building materials. Noise excess removal in the workplace is not just a legal responsibility of the companies, as it is also involved with the market interests of an organization. The safer and healthier a workplace is, the fewer probabilities of absenteeism, accidents and low performance, and consequently, cost savings will be achieved. This study also contributes to the analysis of occupational noise generation, considering the difficulties in obtaining previously reported values of the sound spectrum of masonry saws.

noise occupational exposure portable power tools masonry saw construction materials

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  STEPHENSON, M. R. National Research Agenda for the Prevention of Occupational Hearing Loss. Semin Hear Journal. Thieme Medical Publishers, New York, USA, 2013.
[2]  WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO). Resumé d´Orientation des directives de ROMS Relatives au Bruit dans l´Environmental. Available at:, Switzerland, 2011.
[3]  NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Occupational noise exposure – revised criteria 2011. Ohio: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: USA, 2013.
[4]  BALLESTEROS, M. J.; FERNÁNDEZ, M. D.; QUINTANA S.; BALLESTEROS, J. A.; GONZÁLEZ I. Noise emission evolution on construction sites. Measurement for controlling and assessing its impact on the people and on the environment. Building and Environment Journal, Volume 45, Issue 3, Pages 711-717.
[5]  SINDUSCON / FGV PROJECTS. 55th National Survey of Construction Industry. Available in, Sao Paulo, Brazil, June, 2013.
[6]  SJÖSTRÖM, M.; LEWNÉ, M.; ALDERLING, M.; WILLIX, P.; BERG, P.; GUSTAVSSON, P.; A Job-Exposure Matrix for Occupational Noise: Development and Validation. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Available at: , UK, 2013.
[7]  OLIVEIRA, J. P. B. Optimization of constructive processes through the integration of technology in the construction industry. ROCA Repository - Federal Technological University of Parana. Curitiba, Brazil, 2013.
[8]  SEIXAS, N. S.; NEITZEL, R.; STOVER, B.; SHEPPARD, L.; FEENEY, P.; MILLS, D.; KUJAWA, S. 10-Year prospective study of noise exposure and hearing damage among construction workers. Occupational & Environmental Medicine Journal; Volume 69:643-650, Seattle, USA, 2012.
[9]  ANFACER (BRAZILIAN ASSOCIATION OF CERAMIC MANUFACTURERS). Industry figures. Available at Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2015.
[10]  BRAZILIAN ASSOCIATION OF TECHNICAL STANDARDS - ABNT NBR 15910:2010 - Tools portable electric motor operated - Safety: Particular requirements for masonry saw. 15p, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2010.
[11]  INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION. ISO 3744 - Acoustics – Determination of sound power levels of noise sources using sound pressure: Engineering methods for an essentially free field over a reflecting plane. Switzerland, 2010.
[12]  INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION. ISO 9612 - Acoustics - Determination of occupational noise exposure: Engineering method. Switzerland, 2010.