Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2005-0197-3010, Transportation Security Administration, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Erlanger, Kentucky.
In April 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Erlanger, Kentucky. The request asked NIOSH to evaluate screeners' exposure to noise generated by conveyor belts and baggage inspection equipment in the checked baggage screening areas of Terminal 3. In response to the request, NIOSH investigators conducted site visits on February 9, 2006, and April 13, 2006. The site visit on February 9, 2006, included an opening conference with management and employee representatives followed by a noise survey of the B-Bags and T-Drive checked baggage screening areas. Thirteen employees in the B-Bags and T-Drive screening areas were monitored using noise dosimeters throughout the shift to evaluate their daily noise dose. The noise dose for one employee working in the B-Bags screening area exceeded the NIOSH criteria. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) criteria were not exceeded in any of the 13 employees monitored. On April 13, 2006, NIOSH investigators returned to measure area spectral noise levels in the T-Drive checked baggage screening area. The area spectral analysis revealed a predominant sound at the third-octave band center frequency of 8.0 kiloHertz (kHz), thought to be from the conveyor motor. This high-pitched noise was not loud enough to be hazardous to the employees' hearing, but was very noticeable to the employees. Most noise exposures to which TSA screeners are subjected during their work activities do not pose a risk for occupational noise-induced hearing loss. However, screeners working the shoe in the B-Bags area do have noise levels high enough to warrant further evaluation. The high-pitched noise generated from a conveyor belt motor in the T-Drive area should be eliminated by an appropriate engineering control. Suggestions for further reducing noise exposures are provided in the Recommendations section of this report.