Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-2001-0496-2866, Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a health hazard evaluation from employees at the Oklahoma City Community College Bookstore on August 13, 2001. Employees were concerned that the temporary location of the bookstore in the school's gymnasium was exposing them to excessive noise from activities occurring in the gymnasium. Following a cheerleading camp held in the Summer of 2001, one employee experienced pain and ringing in her ears from the yelling and screaming by the participants. The bookstore employees were also concerned about mold and dust in the bookstore that they felt resulted in additional sickness for the workers. A NIOSH investigator visited the campus bookstore on October 17-19, 2001, to make noise measurements in the bookstore while a Fall Break Camp was held in the gymnasium. Personal and area noise samples were obtained over two full days in the bookstore. The NIOSH investigator also made visual observations of the work area, interviewed bookstore employees, and spoke with representatives of the College's physical plant about the operation of the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and the condition of the gymnasium's roof. The results of the personal noise sampling revealed time-weighted average (TWA) noise levels that were 6% or less of the daily allowed noise dose according to the evaluation criteria to prevent occupational hearing loss from noise. The area noise samples showed that the activities in the gymnasium did interfere with communications for the employees of the bookstore, particularly the voices of the children in the day camp. The temporary wall constructed to isolate the bookstore was ineffective in reducing the noises emanating from the gymnasium. Also, the housekeeping conditions observed in the bookstore were poor, with dust located throughout the space. The personal noise measurements made during the two days of the Fall Break Camp revealed that employees of the bookstore are not at increased risk of occupational hearing loss as a result of their noise exposures. However, the interference with daily activities at the store was confirmed by the area noise samples. Visual observations made during the site visit found large amounts of dust throughout the bookstore and an area on the southeast wall that had visible staining from a previous roof leak. Recommendations are made in the report on the construction of a more efficient, sound-attenuation wall and on improving general housekeeping practices.