4.1 Statutory controls

Due to the potentially severe and irreversible impacts of excessive ground vibration, particularly in relation to structures, statutory limits have been put in place in most jurisdictions. These limits are based on studies and measurements designed to establish the minimum criteria to protect human comfort and prevent structural damage.

In Australia, there are a number of government agencies responsible for regulating ground vibration resulting from blasting. Mining authorities are generally responsible for regulating blasting activities by the application of legislation and subordinate standards. However, in respect of human comfort levels of ground vibration, diverse agencies such as a workplace health and safety authorities or environmental protection agencies may have jurisdiction. It is important to establish what agency or agencies have jurisdiction prior to commencing a blasting activity. In some cases, local government may also have a role in regulating the activity, usually through development consent processes.

Limits for other sources of vibration are significantly less than those set for blasting. Continuous vibration can excite resonant frequencies in a building and induce a much larger response than impulsive vibration such as blasting, increasing the risk of structural damage and human reaction. Where excessive vibration at the source causes higher noise levels at the receiver, the criteria for noise discussed in Section 3.9.2 apply.

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