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Contributions of non-occupational activities to total noise exposure of construction workers.

Neitzel-R; Seixas-N; Goldman-B; Daniell-W
Ann Occup Hyg 2004 Jul; 48(5):463-473
This paper describes how exposures received during routine and episodic non-occupational activities contribute to total noise exposure in a group of occupationally exposed workers. Two-hundred and sixty-six construction apprentices enrolled in a longitudinal hearing loss study and completed questionnaires at 1 yr of follow-up to determine their episodic activities (e.g. concert attendance, power tool use, firearms exposure). Noise exposure levels for these episodic exposures were determined from the published literature. Routine activities were assessed using activity cards filled out over 530 subject-days, along with noise dosimetry measurements made over 124 subject-days of measurement. Equivalent Leq exposure levels were then calculated for specific activities. These activity-specific Leq values were combined into estimated individual annual Leq exposure levels for the 6760 nominal annual non-occupational hours in a year (LAeq6760h), which were then transformed into equivalent levels for a 2000 h exposure period (LA2000hn) for comparison with occupational noise exposure risk criteria. The mean non-occupational LAeq6760h exposure values for the cohort ranged from 56 to 87 dBA (equivalent LA2000hn 62-93 dBA). At the mid range of the routine and episodic activity exposure level distribution, the mean LAeq6760h was 73 dBA (LA2000hn 78 dBA). Nineteen percent of the LA2000hn non-occupational exposures exceeded 85 dBA, the generally recommended occupational limit for a 2000 h workyear, at the mid-range of exposure levels. Due to a lack of available data, firearms use could not be incorporated into the total noise exposure estimates. However, firearms users reported more exposure to other noisy non-occupational activities and had statistically significantly higher estimated exposure levels even without including their firearms exposure than did non-shooters. When compared with the high levels of occupational noise found in construction, non-occupational noise exposures generally present little additional exposure for most workers. However, they may contribute significantly to overall exposure in the subset of workers who frequently participate in selected noisy activities.
Noise; Noise-exposure; Noise-measurement; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Exposure-levels; Exposure-assessment; Models; Noise-frequencies; Noise-levels; Noise-sources; Noise-transmission; Hearing; Hearing-loss; Long-term-exposure; Long-term-study; Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Exposure-limits; Permissible-concentration-limits; Permissible-limits; Author Keywords: exposure assessment; hearing loss risk; non-occupational noise
Richard Neitzel, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98195-7234, USA
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Annals of Occupational Hygiene
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University of Washington