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Case Study in a Working Environment Highlighting the Divergence between Sound Level and Workers’ Perception towards Noise

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posted on 2023-08-11, 20:48 authored by Chun-Yip HonChun-Yip Hon, Illia Tchernikov, Craig Fairclough, Alberto Behar

Excessive noise levels are a prevalent issue in food processing operations and, although there have been numerous studies on occupational noise, no single study has used a concurrent mixed-methods approach. Employing this study design allows for an understanding of the level of convergence (similarity) between measured noise levels and workers' attitudes and perceptions towards noise. This, in turn, allows for the identification of potential challenges with respect to the implementation of hearing conservation efforts. In this study, spot noise measurements were collected using a sound level meter. One-on-one interviews were conducted with workers to determine attitudes and perceptions towards noise in their workplaces. Subsequently, the results of the noise measurements (quantitative data) were integrated with the survey responses (qualitative data) to identify convergence. The majority of the noise measurements were found to exceed 85 dBA-the criterion mandated by the local occupational health and safety legislation. Although all study participants felt that it was noisy in the workplace, a large proportion of respondents indicated that the noise was not bothersome. With workers' perception being contradictory to the measured noise levels, it is a challenge to implement hearing conservation measures unless changes are made to raise the awareness of the risks associated with excessive noise exposure.

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    Occupational Health and Safety

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