Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2006-0222-3037, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Cincinnati, Ohio.
On April 25, 2006, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Cincinnati (SPCA-Cincinnati) in Hamilton County, Ohio. The HHE request asked NIOSH to assess the noise levels experienced by kennel workers from barking dogs. On September 28 and 29, 2006, NIOSH investigators measured noise exposure levels for kennel workers. On October 11 and 16, 2006, NIOSH investigators returned to the facility to conduct hearing tests on employees working in the kennel area. Other employees including maintenance workers, veterinary technicians, animal rescue workers, and front-office personnel who frequent the kennel area were also invited to take a hearing test. Twelve employees contributed 19 personal noise measures over the 2-day survey. Seventeen of the 19 personal noise measures exceeded the daily allowable dose of 100% as calculated by the NIOSH recommended exposure limit criterion. In addition, 11 measures also exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) action level and four measures exceeded the OSHA permissible exposure limit. Nine workers showed some degree of hearing loss (> 25 decibel hearing loss) at one or more test frequencies in one or both ears on the NIOSH-administered audiogram. Five workers with normal hearing showed notches (hearing levels worsen over test frequencies before improving in the highest frequencies, forming a "notch" configuration) in one or both ears at 4000 and 6000 Hertz perhaps indicating early signs of hearing loss. There were 21 notches in one or both ears of the 19 employees. Kennel workers at SPCA-Cincinnati are exposed to excessive noise levels. Some kennel workers and others who frequent the kennel area have some 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 loss prevention 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