A survey on environmental noise levels was conducted at the Gamble Brothers Furniture Company, Louisville, Kentucky. Comparisons of noise levels measured in the office, warehouse, door, ladder and laminating, and rough and finish mill areas with recommended exposure limits suggested that workers in the door, ladder, and laminating department may be at risk of hearing loss in some cases; workers in the ladder assembly areas were also found to be exposed to noise conditions that may be harmful to hearing. Clearly excessive noise levels were identified in the rough and finish mill departments. Rough and finish mill workers had the poorest performance on hearing tests, followed by door, ladder, and laminating department workers, and then by warehouse, yard, and kiln workers; office personnel had the best hearing. Differences in hearing levels between job groups tended to correspond with the severity of noise exposure. The hearing levels of the rough and finish mill workers without a history of previous noise exposure or otologic disease or abnormalities were distinctly poorer than a matched, nonnoise exposed referent group. Hearing data from rough and finish mill workers deteriorated with increasing age and with length of work experience. Of the rough and finish mill workers, 36% were found to have a hearing impairment. The authors recommend measures to control noise in this factory.
NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Report No. SR-33, 44 pages, 11 references