Noise management: Brushcutter

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All documents issued prior to 1 July 2017 were issued by the former Department of Commerce. Documents listed here are the latest versions available, but may be subject to review. For more information on this document, please contact online@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

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Employee / workerEmployer

Brushcutters are widely used by gardeners. They vary in size, power and quality. 

Some lightweight units are common around schools and parks. Heavy-duty powerful units are used by some specialists. 

Brushcutters can be used for long periods of time. They produce high noise levels, therefore hearing protection is also necessary. 

Maintenance

  • Make certain that the muffler of the brushcutter is in good order and is bolted firmly to the machine. 
  • Check that the air cleaner is maintained regularly. 
  • Ensure smooth operation of the throttle from low revs to maximum revs. Spark plugs should be cleaned or changed when misfiring is evident (poor spark plugs will also make starting difficult).Any loose or vibrating parts should be tightened. 

Noise control

Reconsider the need to use the brushcutter. If possible reschedule other work so that noise exposure of those workers is reduced.

Operator control

  • Operate the brushcutter in a low slung position, as this increases the distance from the machine to the operator's ear. Use as long a piece of cutting cord as possible. Short lengths enable the machine to rev more highly and create more noise.  

Alternatives

Where possible, use manual methods to reduce noise exposure. Some of the newer models of brushcutter produce lower noise levels than the older ones. Replace the machine if it is nearing the end of its economic life.  

Adapted from the Noise Control Manual for Schools with the permission of the Education Department of Western Australia.

 
WorkSafe
Fact sheet
Last updated 14 May 2014

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