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Physical Environment Job Design

 Noise
 Illumination
 Temperature
 Vibration
 It is an unwanted sound.
 It is a subset of sound.
 Phenomenon that confronts human factors professionals in many settings and
applications:

 (1) an auditory warning signal, for which the proper sound parameters must be
selected for maximizing detection, identification, and localization;

 (2) a situation wherein the speech communication that is critical between operators
is compromised in its intelligibility by environmental noise, and therefore redesign
of the communications system and/or acoustic environment is needed;

 (3) a residential community is intruded upon by the noise from vehicular traffic or a
nearby industrial plant, causing annoyance and sleep arousal and necessitating
abatement;
 (4) an in-vehicle auditory display that warns of dangerous conditions must convey
urgency and localization cues;

 (5) a worker is exposed to hazardous noise on the job, and to prevent hearing loss,
an appropriate hearing protection device (HPD) must be selected; and

 (6) a soldier’s ears must be protected from exposure to gunfire with an HPD, but at
the same time, he or she must be able to detect enemy threat-related sounds.
 To deal effectively with examples of these types, the human factors engineer must
understand the basics of sound, instrumentation, and techniques for its
measurement and quantification, analyses of acoustic measurements for
ascertaining the audibility of signals and speech as well as the risks to hearing,
and countermeasures to combat the deleterious effects of noise.
 Fundamental Parameters
 Sound is a disturbance in a medium (in industry, home, or recreational settings,
most commonly air or a conductive structure such as a floor or wall) that has mass
and elasticity.

 Example:
 an exhaust fan on the roof of an industrial plant has blades that rotate in the air, creating
noise which may propagate into the surrounding community.
 Because the blades are coupled to the air medium, they produce pressure waves that
consist of alternating compressions (above ambient air pressure) and rarefactions (below
ambient pressure) of air molecules, the frequency ( f ) of which is the number of
above/below ambient pressure cycles per second, or hertz (Hz ).
 Several metrics that relate to the energy of the noise exposure have been
developed, most with an eye toward accurately reflecting the exposures that occur
in industrial or community settings.

 The most basic unit of measurement must be understood, the decibel .


 Physical Quantification: Sound Levels and the Decibel Scale
 The unit of decibel, one-tenth of a bel, is the most common metric applied to the
quantification of noise amplitude.

 The decibel (dB) is a measure of level, defined as the logarithm of the ratio of a
quantity to a reference quantity of the same type.
 Exposure to noise can cause a variety of health effects varying from insomnia and
stress to hearing loss.

 Short-term exposure can cause a temporary loss of hearing, normally referred to as


a temporary threshold shift.

 Prolonged exposure to noise over a period of years generally causes permanent


loss of hearing.
 It describes the incidence of
hearing impairment for people of
different ages exposed to varying
levels of noise at work.

 Work related noise exposure level


(dBA) is indicated at the bottom of
the figure.

 Incidence of hearing impairment is


indicated on the y-axis and
corresponds to the proportion of
people in a given population who
suffer significant hearing loss.

 Each line describes the incidence


rate for a particular age group as a
function of noise exposure level.
 The proportion of people suffering
hearing loss increased with greater
noise exposure for each age group.

 Not surprisingly, older people had


greater percentages of impairment
at all levels of exposure.

 About 23% of the people in the


older age group (50 to 59 years
old) who did not work in loud
environments were hearing
impaired, compared to only 2% for
people of ages between 20 and 29
years.
 When people’s jobs exposed them
to noise levels of 90 dbA, 33% of
the older group hearing was
impaired, compared to 5% for the
youngest group.

 At exposure levels of 100 dbA, the


proportions were respectively 56%
and 14%.

 At 105 dbA, they increased to 70%


and 20%.
 The sad conclusion is that the
majority of older people working in
noisy environments had significant
loss of hearing.

 Younger people working in


extremely noisy industries were
about as likely to suffer hearing
loss as the non-exposed people
who were 30 years older (20% vs.
23%).

 These findings led to the


establishment of OSHA noise
exposure limits in 1981.
 The Table specifies maximum allowable durations
(in hours) over an 8-hour work- day to noise levels
in dBA

 Example:
 an eight hour exposure at noise levels at or below 90 OSHA Permissible Noise Level
dBA.
 This drops to 2 hrs at noise levels of 100 dBA.
 If exposure varies over the day, a noise dose (D) is
calculated as follows:

 Ci is the total time of exposure at a given level


 Ti is the total time of exposure allowed.
 The maximum permissible noise dose is 100%.

 This is the noise dose corresponding to an 8-hour


time-weighted average noise sound of 85 decibels
dBA
 Consider the situation where an
employee spent time in a number of
different areas of the plant where he
was exposed to a variety of noise
levels.

 First, compute for the noise dose for


each exposure.
 Noise dose = (1.25 ) * (100) = 125

 The noise dose exceeds the OSHA


permissible limit of 100 percent.
 Note that the OSHA permissible noise levels
require that the sound measurements be taken
on the slow response dBA scale.

 OSHA also specifies that exposure to impulsive


or impact noise should not exceed a 140 dB
peak sound pressure level.

 One other element of the OSHA standard is


that it mandates a hearing conservation
program, whenever employee noise exposures
equal or exceed that of an 8-hour time-
weighted average noise sound of 85 decibels
dBA.

 Required elements of a hearing conservation


program include audiometric testing,
exposure monitoring, hearing protection,
training, and notification of the employee.
 The second equation describes the
allowable exposure time to noise
levels outside the range of those
given in the previous table (OSHA
Permissible Noise Levels)

 Where:
 T is used for intermediate noise
level
 L is the noise level in dBA
 Now assume that over the work day
the employee exposures were as
follows:

 Use this formula to compute for the


intermediate noise level (80dBA)
 The noise dose 89%, is within the
permissible OSHA limits.
 The noise dose can also be converted
to an 8-h time-weighted average
(TWA) sound level.

 This sound level that would produce a


given noise dose if a worker were
exposed to that sound level
continuously over an 8-h workday.
 Noise dose = (1.25 ) * (100) = 125%

 The noise dose exceeds the OSHA


permissible limit of 100 percent.

 Therefore, a 125 percent dose would


yield a TWA of:

 TWA = 16.61 x log10(125/100)+90


 TWA = 91.61dB
 Almost all of us will agree that loud noise can be very annoying.

 A related issue is that noise can greatly interfere with people’s ability to
communicate with each other.

 Some data addressing both topics is available from a study on noise annoyance and
speech interference, in which subjects listened to words spoken at controlled
levels in a variety of white noise conditions.
 Note that the OSHA permissible noise
levels require that the sound
measurements be taken on the slow
response dBA scale.

 OSHA also specifies that exposure to


impulsive or impact noise should not
exceed a 140 dB peak sound pressure
level.

 One other element of the OSHA standard is


that it mandates a hearing conservation
program, whenever employee noise
exposures equal or exceed that of an 8-
hour time-weighted average noise sound of
85 decibels dBA. Required elements of a
hearing conservation pro- gram include
audiometric testing, exposure monitoring,
hearing protection, training, and
notification of the employee.
 Because of the very large range of sound intensities encountered in the normal
human environment, the decibel (dB) scale has been chosen.

 The unit of decibel, one-tenth of a bel, is the most common metric applied to the
quantification of noise amplitude.

 The decibel (dB) is a measure of level, defined as the logarithm of the ratio of a
quantity to a reference quantity of the same type.
 In effect, it is the logarithmic ratio of the actual sound intensity to the sound
intensity at the threshold of hearing of a young person.

 Sound Pressure Level, L, in decibels:


Problem 1:
Calculate the sound pressure level if the rms pressure value is 30  Pa.

Given: Prms = 30  Pa
Pref = 20  Pa

Solution:
Problem 2:
What is the rms pressure level if
the sound pressure level is 40 dB?

Given :
sound pressure level = 40 dB,
Pref= 20 μPa.

Solution:
 A number of measures have been developed to enable employees’ daily noise
exposure to be measured.

 The equivalent A-weighted noise level or ‘LTOT’ has been developed for those
situations where noise levels fluctuate over the course of a day. It is an integrated
value, the average level of sound energy over the measuring period.

 The ‘LTOT’ is defined as the steady-state sound level that would have the equivalent
sound energy as the actual noise over the same period of time.
 If a worker’s exposure times to different noise levels over the course of an 8-hour
shift are known, the LTOT can be calculated as follows:
 One other element of the OSHA standard is that it mandates a hearing conservation
program, whenever employee noise exposures equal or exceed that of an 8-hour
time-weighted average noise sound of 85 decibels dBA.

 Required elements of a hearing conservation program include audiometric testing,


exposure monitoring, hearing protection, training, and notification of the employee.
 The subjects wrote down the words if they could identify them and then rated how
annoyed they were by the noise on a 5-point scale. The values and associated
verbal anchors were:
 1—Not annoying.
 2—Lightly annoying.
 3—Moderately annoying.
 4—Quite annoying.
 5—Extremely annoying.
 The relationship between the annoyance ratings and noise level was determined
by regression analysis to be:

 Annoyance rating = -4.798 + 0.106 dBA


 Another equation was developed that describes the percentage of words missed as
different noise levels:

 % Words Missed = -11.17 + 0.1989 dBA

 These are simply linear approximations of what happened in a particular setting.

 However, they are probably good enough for detecting potential problems in other
settings.
 Annoyance rating = -4.798 + 0.106 dBA

 When the noise level was 85 dBA, the average annoyance rating was about 4.2,
indicating the subjects found it quite annoying, which intuitively seems quite
reasonable.
 % Words Missed = -11.17 + 0.1989 dBA

 It indicates that about 5.7% of the words would be missed due to noise
interference, if 85 dBA of white noise is present.

 Since the spoken language is very redundant, a 5% loss of words may not really
interfere with communications very much, but it may be enough to require check
procedures to assure understanding, such as repeating all critical orders, as
required in naval ship handling.
 Another way to assure better communication of words in a noisy environment is to
use the military word alphabet such as alpha, bravo, etc. for the letters of the
alphabet.

 However, the need to take such measures would slow down the rate at which
information is transmitted, and undoubtedly add to the annoyance problem.
 Principle 1 Reduce the noise level of the source itself.

 This solution is without doubt the best choice to start with, and it is likely to be the
most cost effective.
 If it is a question of machine noise level, could another, quieter-operating machine
serve as well? If not, identify why the machine makes noise and then examine the
possibility of making design changes to achieve those objectives.
 At times the effectiveness of the machine is tied to the noise it makes and so little
can be done on this strategy.
 Principle 2. Enclose the source.

 This potential solution stops the sound emission at the source, but enclosures can
make machine tending or maintenance operations far more difficult.
 Also, machine enclosures can cause the machines to overheat unless additional
cooling is developed.
 Before enclosing machines, check with the manufacturers of the machines to see if
there is any downside to enclosing. Sometimes enclosure walls are too thin and
light and loud sounds come directly through them.
 Consider going to a heavier wall construction or a double wall construction so that
structural members on the inside of the wall near the machines are separated from
those in the wall away from the machines.
 Principle 3. Increase the distance between the source and nearby people.

 Moving the machine operation away from nearby personnel or moving the
personnel away from the operation will help the attenuate the sound before it
reaches the people around it.

 Remember, noise levels decrease approximately with the square of the distance
between the source and the receiver.
 Principle 4. Place sound-absorbing and reflecting barriers in the noise path.

 Absorbing materials will help reduce the sound level energy and reflecting
barriers will direct some of that energy away from surrounding personnel so that
the sound wave will need to go a large distance before encountering people and,
hence, attenuate.
 Earplugs and earmuffs are
commonly used in loud
environments to protect people
from excessive exposure to noise.

 Examples of both forms of


personal protective equipment
 Earplugs are made out of soft
materials, such as cotton, wool,
plastic, or wax.

 When inserted into the ear,


earplugs significantly reduce the
amplitude of particular sounds.
 For example, if the NRR is 30 dB,
then wearing the plugs in a 110
dBA noise environment would
reduce the exposure to 80 dBA,
assuming the earplugs fit
properly.

 The earplug should fit snugly in


the outer ear entrance without
leaving any openings around the
plug through which sound might
intrude. Earplugs also should
have a retaining ring, protrusion,
or other .
 The earplug should fit snugly in
the outer ear entrance without
leaving any openings around the
plug through which sound might
intrude.

 Earplugs also should have a


retaining ring, protrusion, or
other feature to both keep them
from being inserted too far into
the ear, and make it easier to
remove them. Along these lines,
some designs attach a cord or
bracket to the plug, which allows
them to be easily removed.
 Like earplugs, earmuffs often
come in a wide variety of
designs.

 In some cases, earmuffs are


combined with other forms of
personal protections, such as
helmets or face shields.

 Earmuffs also sometimes include


speakers and microphones.
 Traditionally, earmuffs have pro-
vided a passive form of
protection, by acting as a barrier
between the source of the noise
and the exposed ear.

 More recently, the passive aspect


of earmuffs has been
supplemented with electronic
features, such as noise
cancellation and sound
amplification (see Best’s Safety &
Security Directory—2003).
 Both approaches process sounds
from the environment before
transmitting them over speakers
within the earmuffs in a way that
allows the wearer to hear normal
conversation and other sounds
they want to be able to hear,
while simultaneously providing
hearing protection.
 Noise cancellation becomes
feasible when the sound is
periodic or repetitive.

 This is done using sophisticated


signal processing circuits that
cancel out periodic, predictable
noise sources.
 Sound amplification is useful in
environments where high-
intensity, intermittent sound noise
sources are present, such as
stamping presses or gun shots.

 The latter systems use


amplification circuitry within the
earmuff to keep the sound levels
within safe limits.
 1. Human heads and ears vary in size and shape. This variability can make it
difficult to fit certain people, and may impact both the effectiveness and comfort of
hearing protection.

 2. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs can interfere with verbal communication. As


pointed out by Morata et al., interference with communication and the ability to do
the job are two of the most common reasons given by workers for not using hearing
protection34 (2001).
 Problem 1:
 How long does the OSHA standard allow people to be exposed to a sound level of
102 dBA? What is the noise dose of a person exposed for 7 hours to 80dBA noise
and 1 hour of 105 dBA noise?
 Answer to Prblem no. 1
 A. How long does the OSHA standard allow people to be exposed to a sound level
of 102 dBA?
 Answer = 1.5 hours
 Answer to Problem no. 1
 B. What is the noise dose of a
person exposed for 7 hours to
80dBA noise and 1 hour of 105 dBA
noise?
 Answer:
 D = (7/T) 100
 T = 8/2 2(80-90)/5
 T = 32
 Therefore: D = (7/32)*100
 D = 21.87%
 ACCEPTABLE
 Answer to Problem no. 1
 B. What is the noise dose of a
person exposed for 7 hours to
80dBA noise and 1 hour of 105 dBA
noise?
 Answer :
 D = (1/1) 100
 D = 100%
 ACCEPTABLE BUT MAXIMUM
 Problem 2:
 Based on the results of Epp and Konz, how much noise would it take on the dbA
scale to be quite annoying? At what dBA level would it be expected that 6.7% of the
words would not be heard correctly?
 Answer to Problem 2:
 A. Based on the results of Epp and Konz, how much noise would it take on the dbA
scale to be quite annoying?
 Answer: quite annoying = 80dBA
 Answer to Problem 2:
 At what dBA level would it be expected that 6.7% of the words would not be heard
correctly? B.
 % Words Missed = -11.17 + 0.1989 dBA
 Answer : 89.84dBA
 1. A worker is exposed to 86 dB for six hours and 92 dB for s three hours, giving a
nine hour working day. Compute for the noise dose.
 2. Compute tor the Time Weighted Average (TWA)
 1. Dose = 100 x (6/13.9 + 3/6.1) = 92.3%
 2. TWA = 16.61 Log10 (D/100) + 90
 where
TWA is the 8-hour Time Weighted Average Sound Level
D is the Dose % as calculated above (or measured with a dosimeter)
Log10 is the Logarithm to base 10
 TWA = 16.61 x Log10 (92.3 / 100) + 90
 TWA = 89.4 dB

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