Source – SUSTENT Consulting Pvt. Ltd
As we all know, Noise refers to unpleasant and unwanted sound. For a healthy human ear, the audible range of hearing frequency is 20-20,000 Hertz (Hz). Beyond that range, noise induced hearing impairment can occur at a higher frequency range of 3000-6000 Hz1. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA), a hearing loss can occur when a worker experiences a standard threshold shift (STS). An STS is a change which can take place in the worker’s hearing threshold when compared to the worker’s baseline audiogram. OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker’s 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) over a workday. For noise, OSHA’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) is an 8-hour TWA noise level of 90 dBA. Sounds above 90 dB can lead to chronic hearing damage if people are exposed to them every day or all the time. Hearing becomes uncomfortable if the sound pressure level is above 110 decibels (threshold of discomfort), and it becomes painful above 130 decibels (threshold of pain).
6.1 Introduction to Noise Generation in Food & Beverage enterprises
Noise is an occupational hazard found in various workplaces globally. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year2.
Exposure to high noise levels generated within food and beverage facilities as the result of operation of various equipment and activities including such as cutting, grinding, mixing, bottling/canning, and washing can result in various health issues among workers and can affect their work efficiency too3.
1Berglund, B., Lindvall, T., Schwela, D.H. and World Health Organization, 1999. Guidelines for community noise.
2Occupational Safety and Health Administration. US Department of Labor.
3Hon, C.Y., Tchernikov, I., Fairclough, C. and Behar, A., 2020. Case Study in a Working Environment Highlighting the Divergence between Sound Level and Workers’ Perception toward Noise. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), p.6122.