Noise as an explanatory factor in work-related fatality reports.

Noise exposure in the workplace is a common reality in Quebec, Canada as it is elsewhere. However, the extent to which noise acts as a causal or contributive factor in industrial work-related accidents has not been studied thoroughly despite its plausibility. This article aims to describe the importance or potential importance, during investigations looking into the specific causes of each work-related fatal accident, of noise as an explanatory factor. The written information contained in the accident reports pertaining to contextual and technical elements were used. The study used multiple case qualitative content analysis. This descriptive study was based on the content analysis of the 788 reports from the Commission de la sante et de la securite du travail du Quebec [Workers' Compensation Board (WCB)] investigating the fatal work-related accidents between 1990 and 2005. The study was descriptive (number and percentages). Noise was explicitly stated as one of the explanatory factors for the fatal outcome in 2.2% (17/788) of the fatal accidents, particularly when the work involved vehicular movement or the need to communicate between workers. Noise was not typically considered a unique cause in the accident, notably because the investigators considered that the accident would have probably occurred due to other risk factors (for example, disregard of safety rules, shortcomings in work methods, and inadequate training). Noise is an important risk factor when communication is involved in work. Since noise is ubiquitous and may also interfere with vigilance and other risk factors for accidents, it may be a much more important contributing factor to accidents than is currently recognized.
Authors (Zotero)
Deshaies, Pierre; Martin, Richard; Belzile, Danny; Fortier, Pauline; Laroche, Chantal; Leroux, Tony; Nelisse, Hugues; Girard, Serge-Andre; Arcand, Robert; Poulin, Maurice; Picard, Michel
Date (Zotero)
October, 2015