Noise Exposure Levels in Black Tea Processing Factories and Its Effects on Employees

Cicek G., Sumer S. K.



The aim of this study was to determine the daily noise exposure levels in black tea processing factories and to evaluate its effects on employees' occupational health and safety. In the study, the sound pressure level dBA values were measured at the ear levels of the employees in each production unit in three tea factories operating in Artvin Province. These factories where the measurements were made consist of withering, curling, oxidation, drying (boiler and stove) and classification units. These units include various systems and mechanisms formed by conveyors, fans, steam heaters, boilers, reducers, pallets, hoods, screens, gears, and drums. In the measurements performed considering the ISO 9612:2009 (Acoustics Determination of Occupational Noise Exposure Engineering Method) standard, a sound pressure level meter in Type-2 class complying with the requirements of the IEC 616721: 2002 was used. A weighted equivalent sound pressure levels were determined using the measured values. Considering these values and working times, personal daily noise exposure levels were calculated. It was determined that the equivalent sound pressure levels and daily personal noise exposure levels at the employee ear level were in the range of 77-87 dBA and 74-83 dBA, respectively. Curling units have the highest equivalent sound pressure level (86.81 dBA) and daily personal noise exposure level value (83.10 dBA) compared to other units, while boilers have the lowest equivalent sound pressure level (76.75 dBA) and daily personal noise exposure level value (73.55 dBA). Considering the regulation on protection of employees from noise related risks, it was concluded that the daily noise exposure level reached the lower exposure action value (80 dBA) in these factories. The study showed that the health and work efficiency of the employees could be adversely affected by noise in tea factories, considering various research results and Regulations on noise.