European Directives 2002/44/EC and 2003/10/EC establish the exposure limit values for preventing operators' risks to vibration and noise transmitted by machines. Few studies studied noise and vibration of agricultural backpack powered machines (as mist blowers and blowers), but nobody critically studied them. This work analyzed the field back vibration, hand-arm vibration (HAV), and noise transmitted to ten operators by eight blowers and mist blowers. Unweighted and weighted vibration were analyzed, using the standards ISO 2631-1 (back), and ISO 5349-1 and ISO/TR 18570 (hand-arm system). The noise was evaluated by recording the acoustic pressure level at the operators' ears using the ISO 9612. With the ISO 2631-1, the vibration to the operators' back was low (0.38 ms-2), but the unweighted vibration measured along y and z-axes (not used by the ISO 2631-1) were high (>11 ms-2). HAV were also low when using the ISO 5349-1 (the highest value was 2.51 ms-2 in mist blowers), but high with the ISO/TR 18570 for the onset of vibration white finger (1446 ms-1.5 in blowers). Noise levels were always high: more than 100 dB(A), excluding the blower with the exhaust inside the blower hose. This last machine had noise levels lower than 86 dB(A), but its specific feature could increase environmental pollution.
Keywords: blower; mist blower; noise; vibration.