December 2, 2013
Hazardous amounts of noise above 85 decibels can be detrimental for a person hearing and damage their hearing permanently. When anyone is exposed to an excessive amount of noise can cause different types of hearing damage. Someone could experience a temporary threshold shift after a noise work day which could be the reason why they listen to really loud music on the way home after work and don’t realize it until the next morning (Suter, 2007). They can also experience a ringing in the ear after they have been exposed to a loud noise; this is known as tinnitus and is a potential sign of hearing loss (Suter, 2007). There are more effects of occupational exposure than just the physical aspect. When someone losses their hearing it could make it harder for them to communicate which could potentially cause them to be less productive in the workplace (OSHA). A study was done in Bangkok, Thailand in a power plant measuring the noise levels during a workday (Junsupasen, Yodpijit, 2012). The study concluded that the workers were indeed exposed to dBs above 85 during the workday although the exposure was not continuous (Junsupasen, Yodpijit, 2012).
The purpose of this project was to measure the levels of noise that the workers were being exposed to during a workday to see if they needed to be incorporated into a hearing conservation program. We also wanted to figure out what areas of the plant had the highest levels of noise by creating an acoustic map of the plant. We also wanted to educate the workers of noise hazarders and let them know the potential dangers of noise not only in the workplace but also in their everyday leisure activities.
First thing we did when we got to the plant was a brief introduction of ourselves and our purpose there. Then we asked the employees questions about their leisure activities and if they were already incorporated to a hearing conservation program. Then we calibrated the dosimeters at 114.0 dB according to the OSHA regulations. We used a 3M dosimeter as well as a Model Q-300 Noise dosimeter each calibrated to OSHA regulations. We placed dosimeters on 3 different employees. We placed dosimeter ESM030192 on the dayshift employee. We hung dosimeter ESM030191 on night shift employee A. Then lastly we hung dosimeter ESM030188 on night shift employee B. The Model Q-300 dosimeter NPG100049 was used when recording levels for the acoustic map. Then we hung one of the 3M dosimeters on one of the day shift employees explaining that the dosimeter would only be measuring the noise level and would not be recording anything that they were saying throughout the workday. Then we walked around the plant and created a noise map by taking a step and recording the dB in that spot and took another step and did the same thing and so on. We only measured the areas that the employees were around the majority of the time. Then we created a sound map of the areas that we monitored.
Day Shift employee one dosimeter was calibrated at 114.0 dB and post calibrated at 114.4 dB. The dosimeter was set to OSHA standards with a slow response and A weighing. The employee was measured from 2:53 pm to 5:14 pm. The time weighted average was 63.6 dB. Since the employee was only measured for about two hours the Lavg would be more accurate than the TWA since it was not a complete 8 hour work shift. The Lavg was 72.4 dB. The SEL which is the highest dB level recorded was 137.6 dB. The noise dose for this employee was 2.5%.
Night shift employee A dosimeter was calibrated to 114.0 dB and was post calibrated to 114.1 dB. The dosimeter was set to OSHA regulations with a slow response and A weighing. This employee was measured from 5:29 pm to 4:47 pm. The time weighted average for this employee was 70.9 dB. The sound level average for the 10 hour shift was 68.4 dB. Since this employee was measured for a full workday the TWA would be