On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.111 n.5 Johannesburg May. 2011
Profiles of noise exposure levels in South African Mining
A.L. EdwardsI; J.J. DekkerII; R.M. FranzI; T. van DykII; A. BanyiniIII
ICentre for Mining Innovation, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
IIOccupational Hygiene Consultants
IIIMine Health and Safety Council, South Africa
OBJECTIVES: A two-year study focused on current noise exposure levels in the South African mining industry, aimed at helping the Mine Health and Safety Council of South Africa meet its milestones for eliminating noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
METHODS: A multi-task methodology was adapted from international baseline studies to determine the exposure to noise in both large-scale and small- to medium-scale mines.
RESULTS: On average, 66.7 per cent of the employees sampled in year 1 and 78.4 per cent in year 2 were exposed to noise levels of above the 85 dBA legislated occupational exposure level.
CONCLUSIONS: Information obtained through the study could be developed into a national personal noise exposure database, including audiometric results, equipment noise emission levels and initiatives for noise engineering control by mines and equipment manufacturers to facilitate targets of eliminating NIHL.
Keywords: Noise exposure levels, mining industry, noise-induced hearing loss
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