Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Hearing conservation in steelworks

Two methods for predicting signal audibility were compared on the basis of theoretical and laboratory analyses, and on site direct measurement of audibility using steelworks operatives and typical steelworks noise. Problems associated with existing sets of signals developed.

The IOM design window method provided more reliable predictions than the ISO 7731 method, but the latter was much easier to employ since it required no sophisticated equipment. Existing auditory signals were found to be adequate for subjects with normal hearing during quieter periods; they were ineffective at high levels of noise and for subjects with poor hearing.

It was recommended that to avoid startling subjects with normal hearing, signals should commence at a level suitable for them and increase over about 1 second to the level required for subjects with poor hearing. A signalling device has been developed that automatically adjusts its output level to suit the masking noise. In extreme noise, however, it was recommended that visual warning signals should be employed.

An internal guidance document "Guide on the selection of audible warning signals for use in steelworks" has been issued, based on the results of this research.

The executive summaries in English, and the final reports in Community languages, are available on request to:

Community Ergonomics Action
Bureau of Information and Coordination
PO Box 237
L-2012 Luxembourg

Reported by

British Steel plc
S60 3AR Rotherham
United Kingdom
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