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Investigation of occupational noise exposure in a ship recycling yard

Kurt, Rafet Emek and McKenna, Stuart Alexander and Gunbeyaz, Sefer Anil and Turan, Osman (2017) Investigation of occupational noise exposure in a ship recycling yard. Ocean Engineering, 137. pp. 440-449. ISSN 0029-8018

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Abstract

The ship recycling industry is often criticised for unacceptable occupational health and safety practices. In order to support the development of technical solutions and new regulatory norms, there is an urgent need for quantitative data explaining the impacts of ship recycling practices on health and safety. Therefore, this study investigated hazardous noise exposure in ship recycling yards by identifying the sources of noise, quantifying their potential impacts on workers and making recommendations for improvement. A noise exposure investigation in an operational ship recycling yard was conducted, which comprised a general noise survey, a personal noise exposure measurement for workers and comparison of the results with the exposure limits and action values defined by the European Union's Physical Agents (Noise) Directive (EC 2003b). The results of this study show that ship recycling workers are at risk of experiencing occupational noise induced hearing loss as a result of being exposed to hazardous noise levels for prolonged periods of time. This study explains that those working with torch cutting equipment, in particular, are most at risk. The study also shows that there is currently a lack of appropriate hearing protection being used in ship recycling yards.