Vibrations from Blasting Activities Annoyance reactions from residents in neighbouring areas

Invited paper

Klæboe Ronny

Institute of Transport Economics

Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 14:40 - 15:00

0.6 Madrid (49)

Blasting activities in the vicinity of residential areas may cause fear, annoyance and residential and/or community complaints even when the vibrations are not strong enough to cause building damages. Ignoring the potential for adverse reactions in such situations, may generate unnecessary annoyance, complaints, delays in production, and time-consuming public relations management. To assess the strength of human reactions as a function of vibration velocity, a socio-vibrational study of people’s annoyance responses was undertaken, and exposure-effect relationships developed. The study obtained answers to a postal questionnaire from 519 residents living in seven different study areas (3 quarries and 4 road/rail construction sites). Even when the vibrations were well below limit values, many residents express annoyance. A high proportion of the respondents worry about potential damages to their house, and to fixtures and fittings. About half of the respondents stated they were worried about damages to their house as a result of blasting activities. More than half of the respondents had experienced that the house vibrated, and 10 percent reported objects that moved or fell down from their original place because of blasting activities. Residents who were satisfied with the information they received prior to the blasting, were less annoyed by the blasting activities. To reduce the number of complaints and anxiety level among residents in the neighbourhood of blasting activities, the information should cover a wider area than presently considered sufficient. Self-reported sensitivity to vibrations was not correlated with exposure to vibrations, but associated with a significantly higher degree of annoyance. This is analogous to the case for noise annoyance.

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