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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2008-0231-3105, evaluation of potential noise exposures in hospital operating rooms, West Virginia University Hospital, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Chen-L; Brueck-SE
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2008-0231-3105, 2010 Mar; :1-13
On July 11, 2008, NIOSH received a management request from West Virginia University Hospital to assess employee exposures to noise in the ORs, especially during procedures where loud surgical instruments were used. On April 22-23, 2009, NIOSH investigators evaluated employee exposures to noise in the ORs during surgeries. Nine employees (surgical technicians, registered nurses, and a surgeon) contributed 12 full-shift noise dosimetry measurements over 2 days. None of the measurements exceeded the OSHA or NIOSH noise exposure limits. Certain intermittent activities that usually lasted less than 30 seconds at a time generated sound levels measured at over 90 dBA. Noise-generating activities include drilling, surgery preparation, and clean up. The employer and employees identified surgeries where loud instruments were used, and sound level measurements were taken during those procedures. Results from the spectral analysis indicated that noise levels in the OR were higher than levels recommended by ANSI and ASA and may cause speech interference for employees. Reducing noise exposures in an OR can be challenging because some sounds are required during surgery (e.g., vital sign monitors, alarms, and employee communication) whereas other sounds, especially from drilling and sawing instruments, could be reduced. Using quieter powered surgical instruments would be the most effective way to reduce noise exposures in ORs and to minimize speech interference and risk of NIHL.
Noise; Noise-exposure; Noise-levels; Noise-sources; Health-care-personnel; Health-care-facilities; Operating-rooms; Dosimetry; Sound; Noise-measurement; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Hearing-impairment; Hearing-conservation; Hearing-loss; Hearing; Author Keywords: General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; intermittent noise; dose; operating rooms; drills; surgery; loud music
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division