Noise and noise prevention at the workplace
Noise is a significant factor in the prevention of work-related illness
The EU has estimated that some 60 million employees across Europe are exposed to noise during 25% of their work time. Hearing impairment due to noise is one of the most frequently reported occupational illnesses in the EU. The Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA) provides accident insurance for some 3 million persons in the labor force, 1.3 million pupils and students, and numerous volunteer aid organizations and rescue squads.
AUVA’s prevention tasks include consultation for companies (especially employers) in the implementation of worker protection legislation, including with respect to noise. Software Competence Center Hagenberg developed software for AUVA that substantially supports the insurance firm in its prevention activities. Experts at AUVA measure noise in various areas of a company. From the duration of exposure of employees in the different noise areas, an individual’s noise exposure is computed. The measurements and computations are done on-site. If an employee’s noise exposure exceeds the threshold of 85 db, then the consultants can use an audiometer to conduct a hearing test for early detection of hearing impairment.
To optimize such onsite measurement, the EPOS LA project (electronic prevention organizations system) developed software that supports AUVA’s business processes related to prevention. The project goals were to eliminate manual intervention, to unify heterogeneous datasets, and to shorten process throughput times. In cooperation with FAW, the experts at SCCH developed a workflow-based client/server application that supports AUVA consulting staff in their workflow, in reporting and in processing measurement values. Significant parts of the application are available both online and offline in order to support the consultants both inhouse and on field visits. Thus data can be collected offline on-site and then synchronized with the server database. This synchronization pursues an innovative object-centered approach that facilitates the resolution of conflicts in their respective context and has produced several publications in the field. In addition, an audiometer interface was implemented.
In the realm of the project, nearly 40-year-old datasets were migrated to a modern database system. Important project results included work savings for the field consultants, an efficiency increase in the area of prevention, improved service for customers and thus increased customer satisfaction.