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Industrial Noise & Vibration Centre Limited- Multihog MH90 & Patch Planer noise-testing


The Multihog MH90 was put through its paces recently during a noise test carried out by the Industrial Noise & Vibration Centre (INVC) Limited when carrying out highway repairs.

Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre Limited who specialise in carrying out occupational/environmental noise and hand-arm vibration (HAV) risk management, were recently selected by one of our end users to measure and identify noise exposure experienced by their workforce.

Gill Cussons (Owner of Noise & Vibration Solutions and Senior Acoustic Consultant/Director at INVC) had this to say with regards to workforce exposure:

“For both noise and hand-arm vibration, the risk to staff is based on exposure – the level of noise or vibration and the duration at which operatives are exposed. In both instances employers are required to reduce the risk as far as reasonably practicable and hearing protection is not an acceptable option if other alternatives to reduce the risk are reasonably practicable.”

The nature of the work carried out by highways gang’s means that they could be operating various equipment and machinery at almost any given location from 30 minutes to the entire day and repeating such machinery use day-after-day.

Prior to the introduction of the Multihog, operatives would most commonly be part of a team who would be required to use a hand-guided planer and a hand-held breaker or jack hammer. These tools not only pose a high risk of hearing damage but also a high hand-arm vibration syndrome risk, neither conditions can be cured.

During the Multihog test, Gill assessed performance in relation to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, adhering to the 80dB(A) Lower Exposure Action Value (LEAV) and 85dB(A) Upper Exposure Action Value (UEAV) plus the Control of Vibration at Work  Regulations 2005, measuring against the 2.5m/s² Exposure Action Value (EAV) and 5m/s² Exposure Limit Value (ELV).

How did the Multihog fare?

The Multihog MH90 with Patch Planer attachment produced an in-cab reading less than 82dB(A) which, based on the drivers shift, equated to a personal daily noise exposure level (Lepd) below the UEAV so health surveillance would not likely be a mandatory requirement and also meant the operator was not required to wear ear defenders. Spin-off benefits of this can include lower stress levels for the operator, resulting in better performance and productivity. Likewise, the operator outside the cab, located at the front of the Multihog, 1.5m from the planer was exposed to the same 82dB(A) noise level.

Gill highlighted that due to the nature of the Logarithmic measurement scale used for noise measurement, for every 3dB increase/decrease in noise level the risk actually increases/decreases by 100%. Therefore at 82dB(A) the Multihog tested represents over a 200% reduction in risk compared to a hand planer measured at 89dB(A) if used for the same length of time.

How did the Multihog compare?

Previous measurements taken by Gill of other pieces of equipment being used for the same task include:

Atlas Copco Breaker, Cobra TT - Noise 109dB(A) / Vibration1 11 m/s² to 16m/s²

1Staff would receive their 'daily dose' after only 12-25 minutes, meaning they wouldn’t be allowed to use any further power tools during the shift.

Makita Concrete Planer Noise 89dB(A) / Vibration2 3.4m/s2

2While this tool is below the 5.m/s², the reading does mean that if staff use it for long periods of time they are likely to be above the 2.5m/s² EAV and therefore employers would still be required to provide health surveillance.

JCB with pecker/breaker attachment - Noise @ 1m from compressor unit 88dB(A) / Noise @ 3m from breaking attachment (common place for staff to be standing) 96dB(A)

Hydraulic JCB Beaver – Noise 106dB(A) / Vibration 9.3m/s²

JCB Beaver II - Noise 93dB(A) / Vibration 16m/s2

Wirtgen 350 Road Planer, milling up to 100mm - Vibration 16m/s2

Gill was also complimentary of the low dust levels produced by the Multihog, mentioning that she is often covered in dust while taking readings on site and found this not to be the case when testing the Multihog MH90 with the Multihog patch planer capable of being fitted with a fine mist spray to minimise dust exposure. 

"When monitoring at the front of the Multihog with the planer attachment, I was not expecting the noise level to be so low compared to other equipment I had measured before, for the same job. With this in mind and also the removable of any HAV risk to operatives, I expect I will soon be seeing this equipment on many more of my surveys"

                                   Gill Cussons (Owner of Noise & Vibration Solutions and Senior Acoustic Consultant/Director at INVC)

If you would like to get in touch with Gill for any help with Noise, Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) or Whole Body Vibration (WBV) Risk Assessments, training or testing she is available at or 07837 385248


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