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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 46  |  Page : 37--48

Occupational exposure in small and medium scale industry with specific reference to heat and noise


1 Department of Industrial and Production Engineering, Dr. B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, Punjab, India
2 Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110608, India

Correspondence Address:
Lakhwinder Pal Singh
Department of Industrial &Production Engineering, Dr B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar-144 011
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.59998

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This study was undertaken to assess heat and noise exposure and occupational safety practices in small and medium scale casting and forging units (SMEs) of Northern India. We conducted personal interviews of 350 male workers of these units through a comprehensive questionnaire and collected information on heat and noise exposure, use of protective equipment, sweat loss and water intake, working hour. The ambient wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT index) was measured using quest temp 34/36o area heat stress monitor. A-weighted Leq ambient noise was measured using a quest sound level meter "ANSI SI. 43-1997 (R 2002) type-1 model SOUNDPRO SE/DL". We also incorporated OSHA norms for hearing conservation which include - an exchange rate of 5dB(A), criterion level at 90dB(A), criterion time of eight hours, threshold level is equal to 80dB(A), upper limit is equal to 140dB(A) and with F/S response rate. Results of the study revealed that occupational heat exposure in melting, casting, forging and punching sections is high compared to ACGIH/NIOSH norms. Ambience noise in various sections like casting / molding, drop forging, cutting presses, punching, grinding and barreling process was found to be more than 90dB(A). About 95% of the workers suffered speech interference where as high noise annoyance was reported by only 20%. Overall, 68% workers were not using any personal protective equipment (PPE). The study concluded that the proportion of SME workers exposed to high level heat stress and noise (60 - 72 hrs/week) is high. The workers engaged in forging and grinding sections are more prone to noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) at higher frequencies as compared to workers of other sections. It is recommended that there is a strong need to implement the standard of working hours as well as heat stress and noise control measures.






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