2016-05-01 12:00 - Messages

Special Issue on Workplace Noise and Vibration

Noise and vibration in the workplace have been known health hazards for many, many years and most countries have had regulations or guidance material for decades.  However, sadly, we have not yet succeeded in defeating these problems. The WHO estimates that over 360 million people in the world live with disabling hearing loss with about 16% being due to noise. In Australia the latest NIHL claims data from Safe Work Australia (SWA) show a significant downward trend from 2012.  Unfortunately, on closer investigation, nearly all the reduction was due to NSW where there had been a change in the eligibility criterion for most workers from 6% percentage hearing loss to 21.5%.

Source: Acoustics Australia, Vol. 44, No 1, April 2016.

Z1007-16 - Hearing loss prevention program (HLPP) management

Workers in many occupational sectors – including manufacturing, mining, construction, transportation, and emergency services – often perform their jobs while exposed to high levels of occupational noise. Long-term exposure to noise can result in both hearing loss and stress-related illness. In addition, noise can interfere with critical communications and warning signals. For these reasons, it is critically important to identify these hazardous situations and implement preventative measures to help protect the hearing of workers. The first in a series of standards on occupational noise control, CSA Z1007 – Hearing loss prevention program (HLPP) management - helps address these potential threats to worker health and safety. The standard helps guide your business in establishing a management process for an effective hearing loss prevention program and is part of CSA Group’s portfolio of OHS Management Systems Standards, based on the foundation of Z1000 – Occupational Health and Safety Management.

Source: http://shop.csa.ca/fr/canada/hearing-protection/z1007-16/invt/27039462016

Étude en laboratoire d’un système de faible coût permettant de mesurer les forces de couplage à l’interface main-poignée d’outils portatifs vibrants

L'évaluation de l'exposition aux vibrations transmises au système main-bras et des lésions qui peuvent en résulter lors de l'utilisation d'outils portatifs motorisés repose actuellement sur les principes directeurs de la norme ISO 5349-1. Les dispositions de la norme ne tiennent pas compte, cependant, de l'effet des forces de couplage à l'interface main-poignée, alors que de nombreuses études ont démontré l'importance de ces forces dans la transmission des vibrations au système main-bras. Cela s'explique en partie par l'absence de méthodes pratiques pour mesurer ces forces sur le terrain, et en partie par le manque de données liant les risques de blessures aux forces en présence. Cette étude visait à évaluer la capacité d'un système de faible coût à mesurer les forces qui s'exercent entre la main et la poignée d'un outil portatif motorisé.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/publications-et-outils/publication/i/100860/n/systeme-de-faible-cout-mesurer-les-forces-de-couplage

Transcriptional Pathways Altered in Response to Vibration in a Model of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome

Objective: The aim of this study was to use an established model of vibration-induced injury to assess frequency-dependent changes in transcript expression in skin, artery, and nerve tissues.
Methods: Transcript expression in tissues from control and vibration-exposed rats (4h/day for 10 days at 62.5, 125, or 250?Hz; 49m/s2, rms) was measured. Transcripts affected by vibration were used in bioinformatics analyses to identify molecular- and disease-related pathways associated with exposure to vibration.
Results: Analyses revealed that cancer-related pathways showed frequency-dependent changes in activation or inhibition. Most notably, the breast-related cancer-1 pathway was affected. Other pathways associated with breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein related signaling, or associated with cancer and cell cycle/cell survivability were also affected.
Conclusion: Occupational exposure to vibration may result in DNA damage and alterations in cell signaling pathways that have significant effects on cellular division.

Source: Waugh, Stacey; Kashon, Michael L.; Li, Shengqiao; Miller, Gerome R.; Johnson, Claud; Krajnak, Kristine. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: April 2016, Volume 58, Issue 4, p. 344-350.

Noise peaks influence communication in the operating room

An observational study
Noise peaks are powerful distractors. This study focuses on the impact of noise peaks on surgical teams' communication during 109 long abdominal surgeries. We related measured noise peaks during 5-min intervals to the amount of observed communication during the same interval. Results show that noise peaks are associated with less case-relevant communication; this effect is moderated by the level of surgical experience; case-relevant communications decrease under high noise peak conditions among junior, but not among senior surgeons. However, case-irrelevant communication did not decrease under high noise level conditions, rather there was a trend to more case-irrelevant communication under high noise peaks. The results support the hypothesis that noise peaks impair communication because they draw on attentional resources rather than impairing understanding of communication. As case-relevant communication is important for surgical performance, exposure to high noise peaks in the OR should be minimised especially for less experienced surgeons.

Source: Keller, Sandra, Tschan, Franziska, Beldi, Guido, Kurmann, Anita, Candinas, Daniel, & Semmer, Norbert K. (2016). Ergonomics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2016.1159736

Hearing Impairment Among Noise-Exposed Workers - United States, 2003–2012

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer. Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common U.S. work-related illness. Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous occupational noise. CDC compared the prevalence of hearing impairment within nine U.S. industry sectors using 1,413,789 noise-exposed worker audiograms from CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project. CDC estimated the prevalence at six hearing impairment levels, measured in the better ear, and the impact on quality of life expressed as annual disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), as defined by the 2013 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study. The mining sector had the highest prevalence of workers with any hearing impairment, and with moderate or worse impairment, followed by the construction and manufacturing sectors. Hearing loss prevention, and early detection and intervention to avoid additional hearing loss, are critical to preserve worker quality of life.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6515a2.htm?s_cid=mm6515a2_e

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