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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exposure of teachers and students to noise and airborne hazards in high-school technology-education shops, and their control Summan, Ahmed Saleh


More than 200 million young employed workers less than 25 years old work in different trades and industries around the world. Around 70% of them work in unhealthy workplaces. In Canada, hundreds of young workers are injured or killed in workplaces every year. In British Columbia, young workers represent the largest population of workers with respect to the rate of work injuries. However, this doesn’t represent the population of students in high-school Technology-Education Shops (TES), who are learning technical skills and exposed to different workplace hazards at the same time. They are not protected by regulations that meet their personal/work characteristics, and the teachers who are responsible for monitoring 30 students in each class are not responsible for occupational hygiene inspection. Consequently, this can put both the student and the teacher at risk from exposure to many workplace hazards in TES, which could adversely affect their health and the quality of education provided. Moreover, an acoustical conflict could exist in these unique, small work environments because they are used as classrooms for learning and as industrial workrooms for fabrication at the same time. Therefore, there was a need to conduct this pilot study to explore and investigate the work and control conditions in 26 TES in British Columbia, included woodworking, metalworking and automotive shops. This study was carried out by evaluating the acoustical conflict, evaluating the occupational exposures of teachers and students to noise and airborne hazards (wood dust and welding fume), and suggesting suitable control measures to make TES healthy work and learning environments. Final findings indicate that TES provide poor acoustical quality (e.g., high background-noise levels, high reverberation times, and poor speech-intelligibility quality) for learning and working. In addition, TES teachers and students were found to be exposed to unacceptable levels of noise and airborne hazards (wood dust and welding fume). Indeed, these findings indicate that TES are in need of effective acoustical design and hazard-control measures. These suggested control measures include all or some of the feasible and affordable means to improve the quality of TES and make them healthier environments for teachers and students.

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