Cancelled - E11: Occupational Noise Exposure and Hearing Assessment of Oil and Gas Extraction Workers

Melissa Blevens, MS, GSP, COHC Student Presenter
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 
United States of America
Dr. William Brazile, Ph.D., CIH, CSP Student Moderator
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 
United States of America
Tue, 5/23: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM PDT
Student Presentation 
Phoenix Convention Center 
Room: Nexus Lounge, North 227 B 
CM Credit Hours:


Oil and gas extraction (OGE) companies are exempt from implementing hearing conservation programs and noise monitoring according to the OSHA noise standard. There are no known peer-reviewed studies on OGE worker occupational noise exposure and hearing status before the current study. We partnered with a subcontractor that allowed us to sample at both conventional and quiet hydraulic fracturing fleets. Quiet fleets use engineering controls to lower noise levels while conventional fleets do not. For both fleets, we conducted personal noise dosimetry, equipment noise measurements, and pure tone audiometry pre- and post-work shift to determine if there were temporary threshold shifts (TTS) in hearing. Dosimetry results indicated that 84% (42/50) of the quiet fleet samples and all 100% (34/34) of the conventional fleet workers sampled exceeded the ACGIH noise threshold limit value. Both fleets experienced TTS, but preliminary analysis has indicated no significant difference between the fleet workers. Most equipment of both fleets exceeded 85 decibels, but the pumps of the quiet fleet were ~14 dB lower than the conventional fleet. While this company has engineered the pumps to attenuate noise in the quiet fleet, these workers are still at risk of hearing loss and further controls are recommended. We recommend implementing a hearing conservation program despite exemption to protect worker health.

Learning Outcomes

1. Differentiate between conventional and quiet fracking fleet noise levels and controls.
2. Ascertain if the quiet fleet engineering controls are sufficient or if more controls are needed.
3. Identify fracking hazardous noise areas and equipment.
4. Explain how hearing conservation programs can help workers of this sector.
5. Recognize how noise can affect our hearing and our health. 

Content Level


Organizational Category


Primary Industry

Oil & Gas


Academic Track
Noise/Hearing Loss Prevention
Sampling and Analysis