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Home > Resources > The Synergist > SynergistNOW Blog > Posts > ​Photo Essay Contest: A Noise Study on an Aircraft Carrier
​Photo Essay Contest: A Noise Study on an Aircraft Carrier

By Layne Hardison

Editor’s note: AIHA’s IAMIH campaign encourages members to spread awareness about the industrial hygiene profession, share why they love what they do, and inspire others to enter the field. As part of the 2017 IAMIH Leadership Challenge, AIHA held a photo essay contest that asked members to describe the moment when their eyes were opened to the life-changing potential of a career in industrial hygiene. The top three entries were chosen for publication on SynergistNOW. 

Here is the entry that was selected as the 2nd runner up in the 2017 IAMIH Photo Essay Contest. Other winning entries will be published in the coming weeks.

Adventures, exploring the unknown, challenges, new experiences—all things that bring excitement. Most people wouldn’t believe such giddy endeavors could exist as part of an everyday job. Through most of my education, I wouldn’t have believed it either. However, as luck—or fate—would have it, during my last year of study, four students were chosen to participate in a noise study aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). One of them was me! 

We were flown out over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere off the coast of Coronado, and caught by an arresting wire on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. Even compared to the pictures we had researched, the aircraft carrier was quite a bit larger than I could have comprehended, and as you would expect, it was completely surrounded by water. Being a small cog in an operation including so many incredible people was very humbling. We were surprised when the crew granted us virtually free rein after only a brief introduction and orientation. Eager and wide-eyed, we split up and set out to navigate the eerily similar compressed hallways and tiny ladders in search of targeted, job-specific personnel while armed with our tiny notepads, pens, waivers, and freshly calibrated dosimeters. Despite the odd hours and momentary culture shock, it felt more like a treasure hunt than actual work, and the data we obtained was our treasure. When we weren’t working, the crew onboard treated us like royalty, even escorting us onto the flight deck to observe pilots training for takeoffs and landings with their jets. A few days later, we were the ones being catapulted into the air.Layne Hardison IAMIH Leadership Challenge Winner South Region Inset.jpg

Somewhere between our very abrupt landing and our heart-pounding departure, I knew IH was for me. It hit me during that special flight deck excursion. I was dressed from head to toe in personal protective equipment and standing timidly, exactly as I was placed, surrounded by jets dancing between their landings and takeoffs. Not only was it beautifully choreographed, the movement and precision took my breath away. Everything appeared to be operating as close to perfection as humanly attainable.

In IH, as on that flight deck, a new experience, adventure, or opportunity to explore the unknown is waiting for me just around the ​corner.

Layne Hardison, MS, ASHM, GSP, is industrial hygiene representative at UCOR in Oak Ridge, Tenn.


Wonderful story!

What a great story! You have re-energized my industrial hygiene passion!  What other profession gets you so close to workers in their element, right?
By the way, how were those exposures? :)
Dina M. Siegel, CIH, CSP, CBSP, FAIHANo presence information on 2/21/2018 2:24 PM by Dina Siegel | Flag comment for inappropriate content

Incredible Experience


Thank you for your comment!  I'm soo happy the article was able to give you some fresh vigor.  The experience itself was incredible!

Unfortunately, the research for the Noise Study was done at the very end of my college career, and I was unable to review and analyze all of the results we had collected.  There was, however, a featured article in Professional Safety entitled "Noise Exposure The Need for New Measurements on Aircraft Carriers," written from a previous study by my professor and few fellow classmates.  They did a tremendous job on describing the research they conducted and their results.  It can give you a pretty accurate view of the type of results we received in our follow-up. In short, exposures were high. 

Hopefully, some of the evidence we collected will provide a good foundation for a solid business case on the importance of designing future Aircraft Carriers with engineering controls to muffle the excessive noise surrounding sleeping quarters.

All the best,

 on 2/22/2018 11:30 AM by Layne Hardison, MS, ASHM, GSP | Flag comment for inappropriate content

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