Noise Pollution Emerges as Important Mower Sustainability Factor
Many hospital, school, and university campuses have instituted noise restrictions in response to the needs of occupants, visitors and patients. To comply with these restrictions, mower manufacturers are producing quieter equipment that will produce lower levels of noise pollution.
Excessive noise also can be a safety issue. Using equipment that operates at 85 decibels over an eight-hour period can cause gradual hearing impairment, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. On average, a gas-powered mower more can produce noise levels greater than 90 decibels, which puts mower operators at high risk for hearing damage.
By taking a closer look at the way the engine exhaust works and re-tweaking a few different parts of the engine, manufacturers are rolling out new, quieter mowers. It is important to point out that noise is not an indication of performance. Mowers that produce lower noise levels still can handle the same volume of work that a louder mower can.
In addition to safety, the creation of quieter mowers has increased the productivity levels of mower fleets. Since these mowers do not cause as much disruption, operators can complete more work by starting earlier in the morning and finishing later in the evening. But landscaping-noise ordinances still exist in some areas, so managers must be sure to ensure compliance before employees start mowing.
Managers looking to purchase a quiet, safe mower should carefully consider electric-powered mowers, which produce an average of 75 decibels — the noise of a washing machine — compared to an average of 95 decibels for gasoline-powered mowers. To prevent hearing impairment among operators, managers should instruct employees to always wear earplugs, earmuffs, or noise-cancelling headphones during mowing operations.