Original Research

The occupational effects of unconventional (custom-made) hearing protection for platinum mine workers

R. J. Steenkamp
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 29, No 2 | a105 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v29i2.105 | © 2003 R. J. Steenkamp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2003 | Published: 24 October 2003

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R. J. Steenkamp, UNISA, South Africa

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Abstract

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is on the priority list of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Hearing loss due to industrial noise exposure is the most prevalent industrial disease. Noise (above 85 dB) is not only a physical hazard, but also a psychological hazard that may create or exacerbate ergonomic or mechanical hazards. Conventional hearing protection devices (HPDs) are widely applied but also misused in the mining sector. In this investigation ownership and general attitudes were measured by determining how unconventional hearing protectors (custom-made hearing protectors) (CHPDs) is experienced by the mine- workers. The results could indicate whether these protectors, which is perceived by management to be costly, sophisticated and difficult to implement on a large scale, are a viable alternative to conventional hearing protectors. The results indicated certain positive directions in terms of quality hearing conservation and confirmed that CHPDs (with its unique features) do not only protect hearing but has several other occupational benefits.

Opsomming
Geraasdoofheid is op die prioriteitslys van die Wêreld Gesondheidsorganisasie (WHO). Gehoorverlies wat deur industriële geraasblootstelling veroorsaak word, word as die mees prominente beroepgesondheidsiekte beskou. Geraas (bo 85 dB) is nie net ’n fisiese risiko nie, maar hou ook ook psigologiese gevare in, wat ander meganiese en ergonomiese risiko’s kan veroorsaak of vererger. Konvensionele geraasdempers word op grootskaal in die mynsektor gebruik, maar ook wanaangewend. In hierdie ondersoek is eienaarskap en die algemene gesindhede van gebruikers gemeet deur te bepaal hoe onkonvensionele gehoorbeskermers (doelgemaakte gehoorbeskermers) deur die mynwerkers self ervaar word. Die resultate kan as ‘n aanduiding dien of hierdie beskermers, wat dikwels deur bestuur as duur, gesofistikeerd en moeilik op ‘n grootskaal implementeerbaar is, as ’n lewensvatbare alternatief tot konvensionele gehoorbeskermers oorweeg moet word. Die resultate toon sekere positiewe aspekte ten opsigte van gehalte gehoorkonservering en het bevestig dat doelgemaakte gehoorbeskermers (met hul unieke eienskappe) nie slegs gehoor beskerm nie, maar verskeie ander beroepsverwante voordele inhou.


Keywords

Occupational effects; Hearing protection; Platinum mine workers

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