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How noisy is the noise in Tanzanian metal factories

A PhD candidate's quest for finding out what noise levels in factories mean to workers in Tanzania

I am very much interested in identifying factory workers' awareness of noise levels and how much protection they have at workplaces

Israel Paul Nyarubeli is an Environmental and Occupational Health Specialist in Industrial Hygiene. Since 2015, he has been researching exposures to hazards and the related health outcomes in mining as well as in construction/manufacturing industries. He has been employed by the Local Government of Tanzania as the Head of the Department in Environment and Preventive Services. He is currently affiliated to the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, where is he also part of a noise and hearing project. At the Centre for International Health (CIH) under the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care (IGS)at the University of Bergen, Norway, where Israel is completing PhD studies, he also works as a mentor in Massive Open Online Course in Occupational Health in Developing Countries.

Working to promote safety and health at workplaces has long been Israel’s passion. According to Israel, his homeland Tanzania and most African nations are under-going unprecedented rates of industrialization, which are resulting in the proliferation of construction activities. This development has challenges in terms of ensuring decent workplaces and protecting workers from occupationally-related injuries and diseases.

Israel’s current research is documenting workers’ exposure to noise in metal industries with the aim of trying to prevent hearing impairment. Identifying the noise levels workers are exposed to and their subsequent amount of hearing loss is at the heart of his study. He monitors the noise levels during working hours and measures the hearing levels of workers using an audiometer. In addition, he conducts surveys to assess the level of knowledge workers have about physical hazards in their workplaces.

It is not new for Israel, to be working on matters of health and safety in workers. He has spent time working with goldmine workers in Tanzania who are exposed to dust-related respiratory problems.

Israel is hopeful that the findings of his research will influence Health and Safety Policy in Tanzania and that standards regulating noise levels will be introduced at the national level. His results will also help construction company owners and managers of factories to consider noise levels in their management routines. Most importantly, the study will help raise awareness in workers regarding the use of safety equipment at workplace – specifically hearing protection in the many noisy activities that results from process of industrialization.