Multiple work-related accidents: Tracing the role of hearing status and noise exposure. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 66(5), 319-324

Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Canada.
Occupational and environmental medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 02/2009; 66(5):319-24. DOI: 10.1136/oem.2007.037713
Source: PubMed


Our main purpose was to investigate any relationship between noise exposure levels in the workplace, degree of hearing loss (HL), and the relative risk of accident (OR of single or multiple events).
We conducted a retrospective study of 52 982 male workers aged 16-64 years with long-standing exposures to occupational noise over a 5-year period, using "hearing status" and "noise exposure" from the registry held by the Quebec National Institute of Public Health. Information on work-related accidents was obtained from the Quebec Workers' Compensation Board. Hearing threshold level measurements and noise exposures were regressed on the numbers of accidents after adjusting for age.
Exposure to extremely noisy environments (L(eq8h) (equivalent noise level for 8 h exposure) > or =90 dBA) is associated with a higher relative risk of accident. The severity of hearing impairment (average bilateral hearing threshold levels at 3, 4 and 6 kHz) increases the relative risk of single and multiple events when threshold levels exceed 15 dB of hearing loss. The relative risk of multiple events (four or more) is approximately three times higher among severely hearing-impaired workers who are exposed to L(eq8h) > or =90 dBA.
Single and multiple events are associated with high noise exposure and hearing status. This suggests that reducing noise exposure contributes to increased safety in noisy industries and prevents hearing loss. Hearing-impaired workers assigned to noisy workstations should be provided with assistive listening devices and efficient communication strategies should be implemented.

28 Reads
  • Source
    • "According to a study carried out in shipyards (Moll van Charante and Mulder 1990), high levels of noise resulted in hearing loss and contributed to the risk of injuries resulting from industrial accidents. Several studies have been carried out to understand the relationships between noise exposure at work (Choi et al. 2005; Girard et al. 2009), relative hearing loss and its correlation with the risk of occupational accidents. Authors concluded that noise exposure at work acts as a risk for occupational accidents. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In recent years, transport activities have radically increased due to globalisation, growth in wealth and freedom of movement. The shipping industry has responded to increased needs by providing flexible operations using new types of ships, equipped with novel technologies, materials and propulsion systems. Furthermore, services have been extended to new geographical areas including locations in and around populated cities. Naturally such services, in addition to the benefits, create various types of problems including noise pollution. This issue has been addressed at the European as well as the IMO (International Maritime Organization) level with the introduction of new/revised standards and limitations on noise. These statutory standards are also applicable to ships for the well-being of crew, commuters, as well as residents living around ship passageways and harbours. This paper focuses on the welfare and performance of seagoing crew working in various locations in the ships. Noise measurements carried out onboard six chemical tankers are presented and examined within the context of the IMO regulation A468 (XII) as well as the EU Directive 2003/10/EC concerning noise. After discussing the basic aspects of noise exposure, the paper investigates the differences between the EU and IMO standards and their effect on crew.
    Ships and Offshore Structures 12/2011; 6(4-4):323-338. DOI:10.1080/17445302.2010.514716 · 0.58 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "(Pleis and Lethbridge-Cejku 2007) In adults aged 48 years and older, the 5-year incidence of developing hearing loss is 21%. (Cruickshanks et al. 2003) Hearing loss can compromise communication(Gordon-Salant 2005) and safety, (Girard et al. 2009) and can lead to social isolation, depression, and poorer quality of life. (Dalton et al. 2003; Gates and Mills 2005; Gates et al. 1996; Uhlmann et al. 1989) Alcohol consumption may influence the development of hearing loss, however results from previous studies have been inconsistent. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hearing loss is a common and disabling sensory disorder, yet prospective data on potentially modifiable risk factors are limited. Previous studies suggest that alcohol consumption may influence the development of hearing loss, yet results have been inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to prospectively examine the relation between alcohol use and hearing loss in men. We examined prospectively the independent association between alcohol intake and self-reported professionally diagnosed hearing loss in 26,809 men aged 40 to 74 yrs at baseline in 1986. Study participants completed detailed questionnaires at baseline and every 2 yrs thereafter. Incident cases of hearing loss were defined as those professionally diagnosed after 1986. Cox proportional hazards multivariate regression was used to adjust for potential confounding factors. During 386,081 person-years of follow-up, 3447 incident cases of hearing loss were reported. Overall, there was no association between level of alcohol intake and risk of hearing loss. Compared with those who did not consume alcohol, the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.00 (0.89 to 1.12) for those who consumed 5.0 to 9.9 g/day, 1.08 (0.96 to 1.21) for 10.0 to 14.9 g/day, and 0.98 (0.85 to 1.13) for 30.0 to 49.9 g/day. The results did not differ by age group or folate intake. Among those with lower intake of vitamin B12, however, higher consumption of alcohol, specifically liquor, was associated with an increased risk of hearing loss. Our data suggest that low or moderate alcohol consumption does not influence the risk of hearing loss in older men. A possible relation between vitamin B12 intake, alcohol consumption, and hearing loss merits further investigation.
    Ear and hearing 02/2011; 32(1):46-52. DOI:10.1097/AUD.0b013e3181f46a2f · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A study was conducted to verify if there is an association between occupational noise exposure, noise-induced hearing loss and driving safety expanding on previous findings by Picard, et al. (2008) that the two factors did increase accident risk in the workplace. This study was made possible when driving records of all Quebec drivers were made available by the Societe de l'assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ is the state monopoly responsible for the provision of motor vehicle insurance and the compensation of victims of traffic accidents). These records were linked with personal records maintained by the Quebec National Institute of Public Health as part of its mission to prevent noise induced hearing loss in the workplace. Individualized information on occupational noise exposure and hearing sensitivity was available for 46,030 male workers employed in noisy industries who also held a valid driver's permit. The observation period is of five years duration, starting with the most recent audiometric examination. The associations between occupational noise exposure levels, hearing status, and personal driving record were examined by log-binomial regression on data adjusted for age and duration of exposure. Daily noise exposures and bilateral average hearing threshold levels at 3, 4, and 6 kHz were used as independent variables while the dependent variables were 1) the number of motor vehicle accidents experienced by participants during the study period and 2) participants' records of registered traffic violations of the highway safety code. The findings are reported as prevalence ratios (PRs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Attributable numbers of events were computed with the relevant PRs, lesser-noise, exposed workers and those with normal hearing levels making the group of reference. Adjusting for age confirmed that experienced workers had fewer traffic accidents. The data show that occupational noise exposure and hearing loss have the same effect on driving safety record than that reported on the risk of accident in noisy industrial settings. Specifically, the risk of traffic accident (PR = 1.07 (CI 95% [1.01; 1.15]) is significantly associated with the daily occupational noise exposures >or= 100 dBA. For participants having a bilateral average hearing loss ranging from 16 to 30 dB, the PR of traffic accident is 1.06 (CI 95% [1.01; 1.11]) and reaches 1.31 (CI 95% [1.2; 1.42]) when the hearing loss exceeds of 50 dB. A reduction in the number of speeding violations occurred among workers occupationally exposed to noise levels >or= 90 dBA and those with noise-induced hearing loss >or=16 dB. By contrast, the same individuals had an increase in other violations of the Highway safety code. This suggests that noise-exposed workers might be less vigilant to other traffic hazards. Daily occupational noise exposures >or= 100 dBA and noise-induced hearing losses-even when just barely noticeable-may interfere with the safe operation of motor vehicles.
    Traffic Injury Prevention 10/2008; 9(5):489-99. DOI:10.1080/15389580802271478 · 1.41 Impact Factor
Show more