Why is noise control important?
Exposure to excessive noise levels over a long period can cause hearing loss and an increase in blood pressure and stress levels. Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a Noise Conservation Program for sound levels measured at 85 db (A) and higher.
Although noise is not considered a typical workplace hazard in a hospital environment, there are some departments, areas or activities where noise can be a problem. This includes areas such as the boiler and generator room in Facilities or Engineering Department, the kitchen, laundry services and some construction areas. Activities in Facilities maintenance shops, print shop, use of lawnmowers, snow blowers and use of some hand held tools also generate high noise levels.
Noise control measures:
The following are measures the Hospital takes to protect employees from excessive noise:
- Exposure Measurement and Determination: initial measurements are taken to identify high noise areas and equipment and to monitor employee's exposure to these noises.
- Audiometric Testing: will be provided to all employees exposed to noise at or above 85 dBA, the (OSHA action level.)
- Hearing Protectors: will be made available to all Hospital employees at no cost who are exposed to an 8-hour TWA of 85 dBA or more.
- Signs: high noise areas and high noise equipment will be identified and labeled with warning signs.
- Training: the Environment Health and Safety Department will train all employees who are exposed at or above 85 decibels measured as an 8-hour TWA.
- Records: the Environmental Health and Safety Department will maintain accurate records of all employee exposure measurements.
For assistance in determining if noise levels in your department or work area is an occupational hazard, please contact Environmental Health and Safety Department.