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A model hearing conservation program for coal miners.

Bise-CJ; Frank-T
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U60-CCU-315855, 2004 Jul; :1-205
This report summarizes the results of a five-year study conducted by The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA 16802) concerning the noise generated in underground coal mines and the development of a model hearing conservation program for underground coal miners. An underground coal mine in eastern Ohio was the primary site for data collection and implementation of the various components of the model hearing conservation program. As a result of this study, the following findings were developed: 1. Miners should be classified by their MSHA Job Code for the purposes of MHCP record keeping. 2. Undersampling a miner's noise exposure level may result in inappropriately classifying a miner as being in the Action Level, when the miner should be in the Permissible Exposure Level. 3. As a result of the time studies and workplace observations, the opportunity to diminish the hazard of noise exposure for operators of face equipment (continuous miner, roof bolter, etc.) by modifying their proximity to the noise sources is limited. Even when equipment is remotely operated, such as a continuous miner, the presence of a noise-producing shuttle car impacts the amount of noise generated. 4. Hearing tests should be mandatory and used as a factor for evaluating the effectiveness of Hearing Conservation Programs. If hearing tests are not mandatory, it is impossible to identify and provide intervention for miners with noise-induced hearing loss. 5. The amount of MSHA-mandated records to be kept, and notifications to be communicated to each individual miner in a hearing conservation program is overwhelming. 6. Individuals holding Council for Accreditation and Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) certification, or the equivalent knowledge, should conduct training of miners in the area of workplace noise and hearing conservation. 7. MSHA-mandated standards require the use of hearing protectors above the Permissible Exposure Level. The benefits to be derived from a Hearing Conservation Program can only be achieved when this mandate is met. 8. Even though the percentage of employees who admitted wearing hearing protection rose from 12% to 72% over the course of this study, the vast majority of the miners surveyed admitted that personal contact with MSHA inspectors, mine management, and project personnel were the primary factors for modifying their behavior to wear hearing protectors.
Noise; Noise-exposure; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Noise-measurement; Mine-workers; Miners; Mining-industry; Mining-equipment; Underground-miners; Underground-mining; Hearing-conservation; Hearing-loss; Hearing-protection; Hearing-impairment; Coal-miners; Coal-mining
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Cooperative Agreement Report
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Hearing Loss
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division