2009 Volume 47 Issue 4 Pages 423-430
Occupational noise has been recognized as hazardous for the human beings. A high noise level in forging shops is considered to lower the labour productivity and cause illness however occupational noise is being accepted as an integral part of the job. The present study has been carried out in 5 small scale hand tool forging units (SSI) of different sizes in Northern India in Punjab. Noise levels at various sections were measured. OSHA norms for hearing conservation has been incorporated which includes an exchange rate of 5 dB (A), criterion level at 90dB (A), criterion time of 8 h, threshold level=80dB (A), upper limit=140 dB (A) and with F/S response rate. Equivalent sound pressure level (Leq) has been measured in various sections of these plants. Noise at various sections like hammer section, cutting presses, punching, grinding and barrelling process was found to be >90 dB (A), which is greater than OSHA norms. A cross-sectional study on the basis of questionnaire has been carried out. The results of which revealed that 68% of the workers are not wearing ear protective equipments out of these 50% were not provided with PPE by the company. About 95% of the workers were suffering speech interference though high noise annoyance was reported by only 20%. It has been established that the maximum noise exposure is being taken by the workers as they are working more than 8h a day for six days per week. More than 90% workers are working 12 to 24 h over time per week which lead to very high noise exposure i.e. 50 to 80% per week higher than exposure time/week in USA or European countries15, 16).