Noise and Vibration
Petrol powered gardening tools contribute to climate change through their carbon emissions, but often the damaging impact of noise pollution can be forgotten or ignored. Long-term exposure to high levels of noise and vibration can trigger various health problems, from hearing loss to cardiovascular issues.
The Health Impact of Noise Pollution
When individuals are exposed to high levels of noise, such as that of a petrol-powered engine, various health problems have been recorded, such as:
A persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears.
High Blood Pressure
An unusually high level of pressure in your blood vessels, a leading cause of various heart problems.
A range of heart related diseases such as: Coronary Heart Disease, Peripheral Arterial Disease and Aortic Disease.
Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems can form, such as various mood and anxiety disorders.
The Health Impact of Vibration
Excessive exposure to vibration can have a real impact on physical health. Whether you’re a professional landscaper or a casual gardener, using tools with a high vibrational output daily can cause various health issues, such as:
Loss of Hand Strength
Loss of hand strength can impact your ability to perform everyday tasks.
Vibration White Finger (VBW)
VBW can be a direct result of operating machinery with excessive vibrational output, causing permanent loss of feeling or tingling in the hands and arms.
EGO commissioned Earlesmere, a leading on-site noise and vibration testing company to test their range of battery powered gardening equipment against leading petrol powered competitors to see which emitted a higher noise (decibels) and vibrational output (m/s2) in real-life scenarios.
As part of the test, five different categories of tools, with one tool of petrol and battery power in each category were put to the test: rotary mowers, hedge trimmers, line trimmers, leaf blowers and chainsaws.
When measuring noise, we measure it in decibels (dB) following the 3 Decibel Rule, in which the doubling of an object is equal to a 3dB increase. For example, if one concert is measured at 100dB, then two concerts would be 103dB.
Examples of 100dB
- A jet taking off from 300 metres
- A music concert
- A monster truck show
The results of the test were clear, showing that battery-powered tools are much safer than petrol-powered tools.
|Leaf Blower||91.80 dB(A)||84.20 db(A)|
|Mower||80.10 dB(A)||74.70 dB(A)|
|Chainsaw||102.30 dB(A)||94.00 dB(A)|
|Hedge Trimmer||95.10 dB(A)||84.30 dB(A)|
|Strimmer||103.80 dB(A)||88.00 dB(A)|
|Leaf Blower||1.78 m/s2||1.00 m/s2|
|Mower||3.27 m/s2||2.00 m/s2|
|Line Trimmer||3.07 m/s2||1.17 m/s|
For both noise and vibration, the (HSE) has published daily exposure guidance to protect the health and safety of users. The daily decibel exposure limit they recommend is 87dB(A) and the daily vibrational exposure limit is set at 2.5m/s2 – anything exceeding these limits could cause potential health concerns for operators.
Whilst the EGO strimmer exceeds the noise exposure limit by 1dB (A), it is dwarfed by its petrol-powered competitor at 103.80dB(A), showing that battery power is helping to move the industry in the right direction. Four out of five petrol-powered tools exceeded the daily noise exposure limit, whilst three battery-powered tools operated below the limit and zero exceeded 94dB(A).
Following the 3dB rule, it’s eye-opening that the decibel count of a single petrol-powered strimmer is equal to that of two music concerts, with a chainsaw following closely behind.
The results of the vibrational output test also highlight the disparity between the two categories. Three battery-powered tools registered below the threshold for vibrational output, whilst three petrol-powered tools exceeded the limit. This means that most petrol-powered tools cannot safely be used for an entire working day (8hrs), whilst the majority of battery-powered tools can.
To find out more about our findings on the dangers of noise and vibration from petrol garden tools, download The Report below.