The chemical manufacturing industry employs sophisticated mechanical equipment to process feedstock such as natural gas by transforming it to usable raw material in downstream sectors. Workers employed at these facilities are exposed to inherent occupational health hazards, including occupational noise. An online and grey literature search on ScienceDirect, Oxford Journals online, PubMed, Medline, Jstor and regulatory bodies using specific keywords on noise emission sources in the manufacturing sector was conducted. This review focuses on noise sources and their control in chemical manufacturing plants along with the receptors of the emitted noise, providing hearing conservation programme stakeholders valuable information for better programme management. Literature confirms that chemical manufacturing plants operate noise emitting equipment which exposes job categories such as machine operators, process operators and maintenance personnel amongst others. Prominent noise sources in chemicals manufacturing industries include compressors, pumps, motors, fans, turbines, vents, steam leaks and control valves. Specific industries within the chemical manufacturing sector emit noise levels ranging between 85–115 dBA (A-weighted sound pressure level), which exceed the noise rating limit of 85 dBA used in South Africa and United Kingdom, as well as the 90 dBA permissible exposure level used in the United States, levels above which workplace control is required. Engineering noise control solutions for plant equipment and machinery operated in chemical manufacturing plants are available on the market for implementation.
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