In-plant noise as occupational risk factor at petrochemical plants
A.D. Volgareva1, L.K. Karimova1, L.N. Mavrina1, Z.F. Gimaeva1,2, N.A. Beigul1
1 Ufa Research Institute of Occupational Health and Human Ecology, 94 Stepana Kuvykina Str., Ufa, 450106, Russian Federation
1 Bashkirian State Medical University, 3 Lenina Str., Ufa, 450000, Russian Federation
The article summarizes the data obtained in long-term research on working conditions estimates and studying damages to hearing organs in workers employed at petrochemical plants. We chose workers employed at five basic organic synthesis productions as an object of our study; these productions include ethylene-propylene, ethylbenzene-styrene, organic alcohols production (butanol and 2-ethylhexanol), phthalic anhydride.
We detected that heating furnaces, compressors, and pumps were the main noise sources at the examined productions.
Our research revealed that noise levels at the examined productions varied from 60 to 99 decibel, and calculated equivalent noise levels reached the 3 hazard class with 1st and 2nd hazard degree.
Audiometric research showed that signs of impacts exerted by noise on hearing organs of workers belonging to basic occupational groups (processing machine operators and pumps and compressor operators) occurred authentically more frequently than in case of control equipment mechanics and automatic equipment operators (comparison group) (<0,001).
The highest risk of occupational hearing loss was detected for drivers while the same pathology evolved 1.5–2.0 times less frequently in processing machines operators. Frequency of hearing organs damage in all basic occupational groups authentically increased as working period grew. Signs of such damage increased dramatically in processing machines operators' group after 10 years of work but still the overall level was slightly lower than in drivers' group.
It is shown that the most efficient measures of collective protection aimed at noise reduction are application of low-noise technological equipment, acoustic protection (sound insulation and sound absorption, etc), remote control, as well as rational labor and leisure regime. Medical care and vocational rehabilitation of people with occupational hearing loss also contribute significantly into sensory deafness prevention.
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