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NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program Noise Measurement Database

December 2015
NIOSH Dataset RD-1005-2014-0

This noise database was developed to provide researchers and other interested stakeholders with noise measurement results that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has collected during health hazard evaluation (HHE) surveys from 1996 through 2013. HHEs are requested by employees or their representatives, or employers, to help learn whether health hazards are present at their workplace. The scope of HHEs varies based on the requestors’ concerns and the NIOSH project officers’ professional judgment. Only noise measurement results are included in this database; however, many HHEs include evaluation of exposures other than noise. Individual HHE reports are published on the NIOSH website. When available, the database provides a direct link to the HHE report for each of the noise measurement results.

The noise database contains workplace noise measurement results from 77 HHE reports, including over 808 personal noise exposure measurements and 582 area noise measurements. It also includes the following information: U.S. state or territory; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) region; National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sector; North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code; facility description; type of dosimeter or sound level meter used; whether a hearing conservation program was in place; whether a hearing protection was used; whether octave band data was collected; job title; noise-generating activities; location of noise measurements; start and end date for site visit; type (full-shift, partial-shift, or task-based) and duration of noise measurement; type of noise (continuous, impulsive, or intermittent); exposure to ototoxic chemicals; and results in decibels A-weighted (dBA) and percent dose according to OSHA and NIOSH noise measurement criteria. This database is an ongoing project and will be updated at least yearly to add the most recent HHE noise measurement data.

Noise Measurement Methods

All noise measurements were collected by NIOSH investigators as part of a health hazard evaluation. Data were extracted from the final report and, in some cases, augmented from investigator’s records. Administrative and observational information was extracted from the final report. The Health Hazard Evaluation Program has an extensive internal review process for its reports. Data entered into the database underwent a 10 percent random check to ensure accurate entry.

For personal noise exposure monitoring, NIOSH investigators used noise integrating dosimeters (Type 2). Dosimeters were typically set up to simultaneously integrate noise using three different criteria to compare noise measurement results with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limit, the OSHA action level (AL), and NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL). For area noise measurements and octave band noise frequency measurements, NIOSH investigators used integrating sound level meters (Type 1 or Type 2) and octave band noise frequency analyzers. View detailed descriptions of the methods.

Journal Articles

Achutan C [2007]. Occupational noise levels during emergency relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. J Occup Environ Hyg 4(4):D33–D35.

Achutan C, Tubbs R [2007]. A task-based assessment of noise levels at a swine confinement. J Agromed 12(2):55–65.

Achutan C, Tubbs R [2007]. Noise exposures during potato processing and manufacture of animal feed. J Agric Saf Health 13(4):367–374.

Achutan C, Kardous CA [2009]. Evaluation of potential noise hazards to mechanics and 911 dispatchers at a fire department. Int J Occup Environ Health 15(1):111–112.

Brueck SE, Prince Panaccio M, Stancescu D, Woskie S, Estill C, Waters M [2013]. Noise exposure reconstruction and evaluation of exposure trends in two large automotive plants. Ann Occup Hyg 57(9):1091–1104.

Beohm RT, Brueck SE [2013]. Noise and noise control. In: Mroszczyk JW, ed. Source safety engineering. 4th ed. Des Plaines, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers, pp. 229–259.

Fent KW, Page E, Brueck SE, Niemeier MT [2012]. Chemical, noise hazards at drum refurbishing plant. Safety & Health Spotlight, pp. 1–2.

Fiorini A, Morata T, Fisher F, Colacioppo S, Wallingford K, Krieg E, Dunn D, Gozzoli, L, Padaro M, Cesar C [1998]. Effects of noise and solvent interaction on the hearing of printing workers. Proceedings of the Iberian-American Federation of Acoustics Conference. Iberian-American Federation of Acoustics, Florianópolis, Brazil.

Gwin K, Wallingford K, Morata T, Van Campen L, Dallaire J, Alvarez F [2005]. Ototoxic occupational exposures for a stock car racing team: II. Chemical surveys. J Occup Environ Hyg 2(8):406–413.

Hall RM, Eisenberg J, Dowell C, McCleery R, Mueller C, Achutan C, Sollberger R, Hall RM, Tubbs R [2009]. Evaluation of dust and noise exposures at three roofing companies. Int J Occup Environ Health 15(1):113.

Kardous CA, Afanuh S [2010]. Reducing exposure to lead and noise at indoor firing ranges. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-113.

Morley J, Seitz T, Tubbs R [1999]. Carbon monoxide and noise exposure at a monster truck and motocross show. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 14(10):645–655.

NIOSH [2009]. NIOSH alert: preventing occupational exposures to lead and noise at indoor firing ranges. By Kardous CA, King BF, Khan A, Whelan EA, Tubbs RL, Barsan ME, Crouch KG, Murphy WJ, Willson RD, Esswein EJ, Boeniger MF. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-136.

Tubbs RL [1998]. Elevator music in the open office environment. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 13(8):563–566.

Tubbs RL [2000]. Noise exposure to airline ramp employees. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 15(9):657–663.

Tubbs RL [2001]. Excessive noise levels in laboratory work spaces produced by the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 16(5):497–501.

Tubbs RL [2003]. Noise problems associated with relocating a bookstore in a gymnasium. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 18(2):75–81.

Tubbs RL [2004]. Time-weighted averages and fire fighter hearing loss. CAOHC Update 16(2):4–10.

Tubbs RL [2006]. Noise exposure in aircraft passenger cabins during flight operations. Spectrum 23(Sup 1):25.

Tubbs RL, Franks JR [1998]. Transient sounds through communication headsets. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 13(10):691–697.

Tubbs RL, Seitz TA [2000]. Evaluation of verbal communication problems and indoor environmental quality at a government service office. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 15(12):869–878.

Van Campen L, Morata T, Kardous C, Gwin K, Wallingford K, Dallaire J, Alvarez F [2005]. Ototoxic occupational exposures for a stock car racing team: I. Noise surveys. J Occup Environ Hyg 2(8):383–390.

Acknowledgements

We want to thank and acknowledge Alia El Burai Félix for developing this noise exposure database, and Robert E. McCleery, Scott E. Brueck, and Allison Tepper for their assistance, insight, and mentorship during its completion. We also acknowledge all of the HHE program investigators whose data were included in the HHE reports that we used to create the database.

Questions/Comments

If you have questions or comments about the HHE Program Noise Measurement Database or about the HHE Program, please contact us at HHERequestHelp@cdc.gov.

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