Each month we will update this page to highlight newly released final reports and information on new and emerging hazards we are evaluating. Check back often to see what we are up to!
NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program Noise Measurement Database
We have released a database to provide researchers and other interested stakeholders with noise measurement results collected during HHE surveys from 1996–2012. The noise database contains workplace noise measurement results from 73 HHE reports, including over 761 personal noise exposure measurements and 536 area noise measurements. For reports posted online, the database provides a direct link to the HHE report for each of the noise measurement results. This database is an ongoing project and will be updated at least yearly to add the most recent HHE noise measurement data. To view the database go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/data/datasets/RD-1005-2014-0/.
2013 Health Hazard Evaluation Program Annual Report
The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program is pleased to share its 2013 annual report with you! Our report includes summaries of projects that were interesting and other highlights of our year. We hope the report stimulates conversations about who the HHE Program is and how we make a difference for the health and safety of employees throughout the United States.
Measurement of Exposure to Impulsive Noise at Indoor and Outdoor Firing Ranges During Tactical Training Exercises
The HHE Program received a request from a federal agency concerned about firearms instructors’ exposures to high-intensity impulsive noise from weapons firing. NIOSH researchers observed workplace conditions and work activities and informally spoke with firearms instructors. NIOSH researchers measured instructors’ exposures when training with several firearms and weapons systems and calculated the number of gunfire exposures permitted per day without incurring a significant risk of hearing loss. NIOSH researchers determined that during most training exercises (1) instructors were exposed to peak sound pressure levels greater than 150 decibels, above the NIOSH-recommended ceiling limit of 140 decibels, and (2) the number of gunfire exposures permitted per day might be exceeded. Although most instructors wore ear plugs and ear muffs, researchers saw single hearing protection used at outdoor ranges; not all hearing protectors appeared to be deeply inserted into the hearing canal. HHE Program investigators recommended
- Installing noise controls at the outdoor and indoor ranges
- Using the most protective criterion to limit the number of daily gunfire exposures
- Requiring use of dual hearing protection during all live fire training exercises
To read the full report go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2013-0124-3208.pdf.
Evaluation of Indoor Environmental Quality in a Natural History Building
The HHE Program received a request from a university health and safety office to evaluate employees’ concerns about rashes, sore throat, and respiratory irritation when working in a natural history building. This building housed offices, computer workstations, and ornithology, mammalogy, and ichthyology departments. NIOSH researchers evaluated the indoor environmental quality, interviewed employees and students about their work and health, and reviewed reports of sampling for mold and chemicals. Employees experienced a variety of symptoms and investigators did not find evidence of a single causal exposure. Allergy to animal allergens was likely responsible for some symptoms, but many of the non-specific symptoms reported by the employees were common and attributing them to specific allergens is difficult. The ventilation systems were well maintained; however, temperature and relative humidity levels were outside the recommended ranges, and air flowed out of the biotic analysis lab into surrounding areas. HHE Program investigators recommended
- Adjusting the ventilation system so air flows into the biotic analysis lab from the surrounding areas
- Isolating the specimen storage and handling areas from other work areas
- Keeping temperature and relative humidity within comfort guidelines
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
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