Noise management: Sander (belt)
Hand held belt sanders range in noise level from 92 to 103 dB(A). The noise levels are directly affected by the quality and condition of the tool. The free running noise level of a belt sander is often higher than the working level. Because the noise levels of a belt sander can exceed 85 dB(A), personal hearing protection is normally used.
- Check that motor bearings are in good order. Pay particular attention to the geared mechanism that drives the belts as these are subject to wear. Make sure that the tool is lubricated in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.
- Replace sanding belts when worn. These can tear and affect the noise level by 'flapping'.
- Clamp down the work being sanded to a bench top. Use a rubber mat under the work to reduce vibration transmission.
- Avoid free running the tool for long periods. Switch on the tool immediately prior to contacting the work surface.
- Keep the tool at arms length. Avoid putting head in close proximity to the motor unit. Use steps or footstools when sanding tall work.
- Purchase quieter belt sanders. These are normally solidly built tools with larger motor units (therefore lower RPM) and 110 mm wide belts.
- Use a fixed sander/linisher tool such as a Woodfast Universal or LG150 unit.
- Hand block sanding is quieter.
- Try to store timber in such a way that it is kept clean to reduce amount of sanding necessary.
Adapted from the Noise Control Manual for Schools with the permission of the Education Department of Western Australia.
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