Objective: To develop a job-exposure matrix (JEM) for occupational noise in Sweden and to estimate its validity.
Methods: The JEM, developed by a group of experienced occupational hygienists, contains 321 job families with information regarding occupational noise from 1970 to 2004. The occupational noise information derives from measurements collected from different sources. The time period label has a 5-year scale starting in 1970. The estimated average 8h (TWA) noise level in decibel [dB(A)] for every 5-year period was coded either as <75 dB(A), 75-84 dB(A), or ≥85 dB(A) and the risk of peak level exposure assessed. The validity of the JEM is tested, using Svensson's non-parametric methods based on classification consensus, reached by a second group of occupational hygienists.
Results/discussion: Validation results show ~ 80% agreement and no systematic differences, in classification, between the two different groups of occupational hygienists, classifying the occupational noise exposure. However, classification of peak level exposure did show a systematic difference in relative position. The results will give more power to the JEM that it gives a good general estimate for the occupational noise levels in Sweden for different job families during 1970-2004. We, thus, intend to use it in further studies and also make it available to collaborators.
Keywords: assessment; exposure occupational noise; matrix; noise.