Human Factors in Aviation Considers Physical Environment – Noise and Fumes

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Noise Considerations

Working on Aircraft can incur significant exposure to Noise – It is not unusual for this to exceed 85 dB – 90 dB

Sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) to happen.

Note – the potential for hearing damage if the time of exposure is prolonged.

Whether we are considering the Ramp Area or the Hangar there is the potential for multiple sources of “noise”

Noise is essentially unwanted sound not only is it unpleasant but it carries the potential for personal harm

Mitigating Noise – hearing protection should be carried at all times and used when remaining in an environment where normal speech cannot be heard clearly at 2 meters

The Need for Communication – Noise must not impair their ability to communicate, as this could impact safety (Move important discussions away from noisy areas)

 

Fumes

Fumes can cause serious problems for anyone due to the potential for inhalation, (may also cause irritation to the eye)

Confined space may exacerbate the situation and require additional controls and procedures and in some cases, for example, fuel tanks the use of breathing apparatus.

 

Source of Fumes

Aircraft maintenance typically involves working with a variety of Fluids and Chemicals including greases – oils, hydraulic fluid, paints ad cleaning chemicals. (When heated the potential for an increased presence of fumes with added danger)

Every product produces some form of vapour or fumes which of course prevents the possibility of inhalation.

Some fumes have no smell but can be very dangerous – consider the effect of nitrogen in a confined space.

 

Mitigations

Whenever possible, steps should be taken to remove or minimize fumes.

Procedures should be understood to facilitate evacuation in the event of excessive fumes. To include procedures to address the problem

Apart from issues present due to the toxicity of fumes which can have serious health implications there is also the possibility of a deterioration in performance due to a lower level of fumes so it is important always to increase ventilation and duly inform supervisors/managers immediately.

 

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