Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Preventing Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Hearing loss is a common result of exposure to noise in the workplace. It occurs when noise damages the hair cells in the inner ear without any warning to the employee. Hearing loss can severely impact the quality of life of an individual, but by implementing an effective hearing conservation program, hearing loss and its negative results can be mitigated.
“The fact is that once hearing is lost, it simply cannot be restored,” explains Gary Ticker, CIH, CSP of OccuSafe, Inc. “That’s why companies whose workers are exposed to high noise levels must – by law – have a hearing conservation program to protect their employees’ hearing.”
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), when exposure is 85 decibels or higher over an eight-hour shift, employers must implement a hearing conservation program to prevent hearing loss. The program must meet the needs of employees by addressing the following areas:
1. Audiometric Testing. Provide audiometric testing to monitor hearing loss in employees. Track changes in hearing.
2. Monitoring. Conduct noise surveys to test exposure.
3. Personal Protection. Provide hearing protection such as earplugs and muffs.
4. Training. Implement training by a qualified instructor to teach employees – alongside supervisors and managers – the effects of noise and the proper use of hearing protectors. It should be frequent, evaluated routinely, and specific to your workplace. It should also include incentives to encourage buy-in from employees as well as additional services for employees who show changes in their hearing.
“Training employees in hearing conservation is the most critical piece in preventing hearing loss,” emphasizes Ticker. “With proper training, workers gain the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves from noise exposure.”
OccuSafe Environmental and Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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