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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2006-0223-3029, Cincinnati Police Canine Unit, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Achutan-C; Tubbs-RL
NIOSH 2006 Nov; :1-10
On April 1, 2006, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) from the Cincinnati Police Department. The HHE request asked NIOSH to assess the noise exposure levels and the hearing profiles of police officers assigned to the Cincinnati Police Canine Unit (CPCU). Between April 21 and September 8, 2006, NIOSH investigators conducted personal dosimetry and hearing tests on the nine CPCU police officers. In addition, pre-employment audiograms for these officers were obtained from the City of Cincinnati to calculate any threshold shifts that had occurred since they were hired. Six of the 22 personal dosimetry measurements exceeded the daily allowable dose of 100% as calculated by the NIOSH recommended exposure limit criterion. Three of the police officers showed some degree of hearing loss (defined as exceeding 25 decibels) on the NIOSH-administered audiogram. One of the officers had a physician-diagnosed non-occupational hearing decrement. Another officer showed moderate hearing loss in both ears, while the third showed mild hearing loss in his left ear. Another officer who still had normal hearing showed a worsening of his hearing when data collected as part of this evaluation was compared to pre-employment audiograms from the City of Cincinnati. Pre-employment audiograms from the City of Cincinnati revealed testing inconsistencies and a lack of quality control of the data. Police officers with CPCU have the potential for exposure to excessive noise levels. Some of the police officers have some hearing loss but it is not possible to determine the exact cause of the loss. Recommendations are provided to reduce noise exposures and prevent further hearing loss. These recommendations include establishing a hearing loss prevention program, wearing ear protection when loud noises are anticipated, and training canine partners to be quiet during routine patrols.
Region-5; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Noise-exposure; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Hearing-conservation; Hearing-protection; Noise-control; Noise-protection; Audiological-testing; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health