noise threatens workers’ health
|Workers drill in a coal
mine at a depth of 150 metres. After suffering long exposure to
excessive noise levels, workers are at risk of going deaf. — VNA/VNS
Photo Nguyen Dan
HA NOI — A shocking
report has revealed that excessive noise levels at factories is causing total
deafness and other hearing problems among workers.
A survey by Thua Thien-Hue
central province’s Preventive Medicine Centre revealed that among 50 workers
randomly tested at a car factory - an alarming 38 suffered from reduced hearing.
Eighteen were totally deaf
- 36 per cent of the survey’s total population.
Nguyen Thi Toan, head of
occupational disease diagnosis office under the Institute for Labour Medicine
and Environmental Hygiene, said that 38 out of 50 was far too high and proved
that noise levels in production workshops was also far too high above the
She said the noise
measured at a car assembly and maintenance factory was between 93 and 110dBA,
going far above the allowable level of 85dBA .
The Ministry of Health’s
Preventive Medicine and Environmental Department reported late last year that
26,300 Vietnamese workers were affected by occupational diseases.
Deafness is the second
greatest occupational disease, accounting for 10 per cent of the total diseases.
According to Toan’s
national-level investigations, between 14 and 18 per cent of all labourers in
the country have hearing difficulties.
The most at-risk groups
are drillers, welders, ship-building workers and rolling-mill operators, she
Hearing problems can cause
dizziness, headaches, stress, hypertension and decreased vision, according to
To reduce hearing
problems, the following measure can be taken, Toan said: the use of specialised
ear buttons; the reduction of noise from machines; and the introduction of
soundproof equipment at workshops.
However, only 18 in 25
workers at noisy factories wear ear buttons.
At a recent conference to
review 2008’s occupational disease prevention, an official from Cao Bang
northern province’s preventive medicine centre said that poor health and
safety in factories and the large numbers of unskilled staff working there were
the two major problems.
Toan said that financial
difficulties were impeding the introduction of safety measures in factories.
"The reality is that
most noisy factories are small companies," she said. — VNS