DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxad074 ISSN: 2398-7308

An updated job-exposure matrix for occupational noise: development and validation

Mattias Sjöström, Marie Lewné, Magnus Alderling, Jenny Selander, Per Gustavsson
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health



The aim of this study was to create a quantitative job-exposure matrix (JEM) for noise including a large set of measurements for the Swedish workforce, a detailed exposure-level assessment, spanning over an extensive time period from 1970 to 2014.


The JEM was developed by 2 teams, each with an experienced occupational hygienist and an occupational safety engineer. Each pair assessed the exposure using measurements performed and reported by occupational hygienists, occupational safety engineers, or similar, from 1970 to 2014. The measurements included either the original LAeq(8h) measurements or an LAeq(8h) levels calculated from partial measurements of the working day, provided that the measurement targeted a regular task usually performed during a full workday. The collection of measurement reports was done in 2008 and 2012 by contacting clinics working in the area of occupational health or occupational safety engineers and their submitted reports were added to our own material. Noise exposure assessments were inserted at the appropriate time period for the relevant job family. The final matrix was developed in a consensus procedure and the validity was investigated by comparison of the 2 team’s individual results.


The noise JEM contains 321 job families with information regarding occupational noise from 1970 to 2014. The time-period label has a 5-yr scale starting in 1970. The estimated average 8 h (TWA) noise level in decibels [dB(A)] for every job family and 5-yr period was coded as 1: <70 dB(A), 2: 70 to 74 dB(A), 3: 75 to 79 dB(A), 4: 80 to 84 dB(A) or 5: 85(+) dB(A). The validation showed no systematic difference in relative position and very high agreement in the ordering of paired ordinal classifications. The JEM has also successfully been applied in several epidemiological studies.


We present a JEM for occupational noise using Swedish data from 1970 to 2014 with a higher degree of sensitivity in assessed noise exposure compared with the previously existing version. Repeated application of the JEM, in epidemiological studies, has shown consistent results and contributed to yielding important findings.

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