Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2006-0196-3036, Liberty Veterinary Hospital, Liberty Township, Ohio.
On March 27, 2006, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a management request to conduct a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at Liberty Veterinary Hospital in Liberty Township, Ohio. The requestor was interested in knowing the noise levels at the facility from barking dogs in boarding kennels or at the hospital. Thirteen kennel workers contributed 18 full-shift personal noise dosimetry measures over two days. In addition, hearing tests were performed on 14 employees. Ten of the 18 full-shift personal noise dosimetry measures collected on kennel workers exceeded the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit. Six of these measures exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Action Level and one exceeded the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit. For kennel workers, noise exposures during the morning shift were slightly higher than those during the afternoon shift workers, which is consistent with the activity level of the dogs. Three of the 14 employees showed some degree of hearing loss (> 25 decibels hearing loss). Of the three, one was a veterinary staff member, one was a kennel worker, and one was an office worker. Five employees with normal hearing showed "notches" (frequency at which there is a dip in the audiogram followed by an increase) in their audiograms at 6000 Hertz (Hz). Notches occurring between 3000 to 6000 Hz may be indicative of the early stages of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In addition, two employees with hearing loss had notches at 2000 Hz and 6000 Hz. The notch at 2000 Hz is not consistent with NIHL. Kennel workers at LVH are exposed to excessive noise levels. Some LVH employees have hearing loss but it is not possible to determine whether this is related to noise exposures in the kennel. Recommendations are provided to reduce noise exposures and prevent further hearing loss. These recommendations include establishing a hearing conservation program, installing sound-absorbing materials in kennels, and wearing hearing protection devices when entering the kennel area.
Region-5; Hazard-Confirmed; Veterinarians; Veterinary-medicine; Noise-exposure; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Hearing-loss; Hearing-disorders; Hearing-conservation; Audiological-testing; Hearing-conservation; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Sound-attenuation; Noise-control; Noise-protection