Brazilian Priests Overexposed (to Noise)

Here's an occupational hazard that hadn't occurred to me: A study published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (Vol. 17, No. 1) concludes noisy services in Protestant churches in Brazil may be harmful to priests and worshippers alike.

Luiz Felipe Silva and Rogério Cabral, co-authors of "Noise Exposure Levels of Priests and Worshippers in Protestant Churches," say they measured the noise levels in five churches located in the city of São José dos Campos, Brazil, using methodology based on Fundacentro's Occupational Hygiene Standard No. NHO-01 (2001). One of the two submitted to dosimetry to estimate weekly noise exposure according to the priests' information about the number of services during the period.

They calculated the priests' noise exposure exceeeded the recommended limits; the normalized exposure level varied between 95.4 and 99.5 dB(A). At two of the churches, the noise exposure registered from 85.3 to 86.5 dB(A), which they concluded may be risky for the worshippers. "Worship in the churches generated sound pressure levels that imply health risk, especially to priests, so hearing conservation programs with adequate acoustical sanitation measures must be implemented there," they concluded.

A paper by John M. McGrath is published in the same issue. "The Role of Equipment Warning Labels in the Industrial Workplace," attempts to answer where equipment warning labels work well by asking workers whether they noticed and remembered warning labels on an industrial table saw they used during a three-month period. "Results showed that equipment warning labels had a limited impact on workers," he concluded, adding that the contextual approach he used explained the relative effectiveness of multiple sources of information.

Posted by Jerry Laws on May 25, 2011