Workplace Noise Exposure

A recent study completed by the engineering group at Akoustik entailed a complete noise exposure assessment of a major Windsor industrial facility. The purpose of this exposure assessment was to conduct acoustical measurements for the identified job classifications and areas/rooms having a potential of risk exposure and post-analysis of said acquired measurement data. As part of the assessment, any noise control requirements necessary to allow the client to meet the Ontario guidelines and regulations were given, which include:

• Identify employees (job classifications) who are deemed to have an exposure risk potential that exceeds 85 dBA for a typical 8-hour time period (shift)
• Determine the minimum Class of Hearing Protection required to reduce employee exposure to 85 dBA or below for an 8-hour time period for any employees with exposures greater than 85 dBA for an 8-hour time period
• Identifying areas/rooms where the sound level regularly exceeds 85 dBA and provide recommendations regarding the minimum hearing protection grade for each area/room where the sound level exceeds 85 dBA

In order to properly assess the facility, Akoustik utilized a range of the Brüel & Kjær products at their disposal. Type 2250 and 2270 Brüel & Kjær Sound Level Meters were used to acquire the acoustical data for the identified areas/rooms identified as having a possible risk of noise exposure. Select employees were outfitted with Type 4448-B Brüel & Kjær Personal Noise Dose Meters (Dosimeters) in order to determine the noise exposure of the identified job classifications. The devices were mounted on the left shoulder of each of the personnel, approximately 10 cm from the left ear and continuously logged the noise data during the measurement period. A photograph of the dosimeter is shown in the thumbnail.

Once acquired, the measured A-weighted acoustical data was transferred to a computer for post-analysis. The equivalent sound exposure level for each of the job classifications and areas/rooms was subsequently calculated and from that the minimum class of hearing protection for each job type and for each area/room was determined. In addition, subsequent calculations were prepared for the client which determined the minimum exposure time for the identified areas/rooms assuming the recommended class of hearing protection was not utilized.