Mining Publication: Development of the NIOSH Determination of Sound Exposures (DOSES) Mining Noise Exposure Management Software
Overexposure to hazardous noise has been found in most mining sectors, with up to 100% of the surveyed workforce experiencing a noise dose that exceeds the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) permissible exposure level (PEL). As a result, miners show elevated rates of hearing impairment of 70-90% by retirement age. To help manage noise exposures, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed the Determination of Sound Exposures (DOSES) software and implementation guide for use by mine management and safety personnel. This paper describes the development, functions and basic operation of the initial-release version of DOSES. A revised version is being developed to incorporate additional user-suggested functions, and its development and implementation to assess noise control solutions will be described in a future article. The software relies on a time-motion study that profiles the worker’s daily activities. Observations about the worker’s location and tasks or other activities are recorded along with the start and end time, to determine the duration of the tasks so they can later be matched up with the noise data. The software gives the user the option of assessing dose relative to the MSHA PEL, the action level or the NIOSH recommended exposure limit. The software generates a variety of interactive on-screen displays showing where, when and how the worker’s noise dose accumulated. It also can generate customizable printed reports. These outputs can be used to highlight the tasks, locations and times that are associated with the greatest amount of a worker’s noise exposure. DOSES simplifies and streamlines the record keeping and analysis associated with time-motion studies and worker noise exposures, so mine management can make engineering noise control or administrative control decisions to limit the noise overexposure of their workers.