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Occupational exposures to noise in agricultural settings.

Achutan-C; Tubbs-R
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2005 May; :22-23
Agricultural workers are exposed to excessive noise levels on a routine basis. However, there are limited data in the scientific literature characterizing the occupational noise exposures to agricultural workers. This abstract discusses two health hazard evaluations conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in three agricultural settings. Personal dosimetery was collected on employees at a swine confinement, a potato processing, and an alfalfa manufacturing facility. Area noise measurements were also taken throughout these three facilities. At the swine confinement facility, all seven dosimeter samples were below the OSHA permissible exposure limit. However, the potential for high noise exposures is evident in the noise dose of specific short-term activities such as power washing of barns and during snout snaring and ear clipping. At the potato processing and alfalfa manufacturing operations, 5 of 20 employees who were monitored attained or exceeded the NIOSH REL. Two of them also exceeded the OSHA AL. The highest noise exposure at the potato processing plant was to the employees who bag potatoes in sacks. At the alfalfa pellet manufacturing area, it was the operator of the pellet mill who had the highest exposure. Area measurements taken in all three facilities supported the high noise levels observed with personal dosimetry. At the swine confinement facility, NIOSH investigators recommended that employees be enrolled in a hearing conservation program, properly maintain their hearing protection devices and replace or pad some of the metal pieces with softer material to prevent metal-to-metal contact. At the potato processing plant, NIOSH investigators offered assistance in choosing hearing protection devices that may improve communication between employees. At the alfalfa pellet operation, NIOSH investigators recommended that the pellet mill operator be enrolled in a hearing conservation program and limit the time spent outside the control booth.
Occupational-exposure; Noise-exposure; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Workers; Dosimetry; Noise-analysis; Noise-measurement; Exposure-limits; Noise-levels; Hearing-protection; Hearing-conservation; Noise-induced-hearing-loss
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California