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Noise exposure assessment of airport screeners during checked baggage screening.

Delaney L; Tubbs R; Methner M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2005 May; :60
Beginning in 2003, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees began inspecting all airline passengers and property for explosives and incendiaries. Most checked passenger bags are screened in the ramp area of the airports in areas previous not occupied by employees for a full 8-hour shift. A series of conveyor belts deliver bags to the various baggage areas where TSA employees manually load them onto a conveyor that routes each bag through an Explosive Detection System. After examination, airline personnel transfer the bags to carts attached to tugs for delivery to the aircraft. TSA employees and management were concerned about exposures to high noise levels generated from tugs, jets, conveyor belts, and baggage carousels in the checked baggage screening area. Four airports were selected for inclusion in the study based on size, location of screening areas, and baggage screening volume. Full-shift personal noise monitoring was conducted in the areas of concern and area noise measurements were collected to characterize the noise source. Of the 56 personal full-shift samples for noise, none exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Permissible Exposure Limit. There were 12 instances where the 8-hr TWA exposures exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health criterion. Generally, the noise exposures to which TSA employees were subjected during their work activities did not pose a risk for occupational noise-induced hearing loss. Major noise sources identified were the ventilation system, aircraft, airline tugs and carts, and the movement of luggage from conveyors onto the screening machines and from the machines to tables for additional inspection, or onto the airlines' conveyors for delivery to the aircraft. Recommendations to further reduce noise levels were provided to attempt to help improve communication between employees.
Exposure-assessment; Noise-exposure; Noise-analysis; Airports; Airport-personnel; Noise-levels; Occupational-exposure; Exposure-levels; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division