Hearing conservation in grounds crew using noise assessment and hearing protection training
Background: The purpose of the study is to assess the noise exposure of grounds crew employees and to determine if a real-time fit testing method for insert style ear protection will increase the level of noise reduction employees can achieve hearing protection. Methods: Four employees contributed 12 full-shift personal noise exposure measurements over three days. Spark 706 noise dosimeters (Larson Davis, Depew, NY) were worn by the employees while they performed daily job activities. Spectral data was collected using a sound level meter. Ten employees were given a choice of insert-style hearing protection, trained on good insertion technique, and underwent real-time fit testing using VeriPro before and after training. Results: Three of the samples exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) criterion and two samples were at or above the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Action Level (AL). Noise exposures were between 82.3 dB and 90.1 dB using NIOSH time weighted average (TWA) calculations. Spectral data shows that regularly used equipment emitted noise levels well above 85 dBA between 125 and 8000 Hz. Six out of ten employees achieved an mean increase of 8.3 dB in their safe exposure level (SEL) after fit training. Four of the employees' SEL decreased by a mean of 7.8 dB. Conclusions: Results suggest that grounds employees are exposed to excessive noise levels and should be enrolled in a hearing conservation program. Training employees to properly use insert style ear protection increased the level of protection achieved by most employees.
Occupational health and safety
Identify if there is a need for a hearing conservation program.
Evaluate if real-time fit testing technology increases the level of hearing protection achieved using insert style hearing protectors.
Keyword(s): Hearing Protection, Occupational Exposure
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been certified as a occupational hearing conservationists (OHC) by the council for accreditation of occupational hearing conservationists (CAOHC). I conducted multiple occupational noise exposure studies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.