When does noise become an issue with workplace safety? We constantly stress the importance of occupational health and safety at an industrial construction site, as well as a general industry setting. The main difference between occupational health and safety: safety hazards are more easily recognizable because you can spot them with your own eyes, where health hazards are sometimes disguise-able until long term effects cause major problems. Noise in the workplace falls under the latter!
One of those long term health hazards is hearing loss from noise exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss in the U.S. is the most common work-related illness. Thirty million U.S. workers are exposed to noise loud enough to damage their hearing.
Construction is noisy. Depending on the scope of work, typically sites that require building or demolition are populated with equipment, vehicles, and not to mention, a lot of disturbance. Noise hazards are “overlooked” on sites because personal protective equipment solutions such as earmuffs, have a reputation of being “annoying," slow down progress and are notorious for being an “obstacle” for communication. Though the “excuses” may be short term complaints, the hazardous effects are long-term, and sometimes permanent.
Health effects from working in an area with noise pollution ranging from minute to major:
If there is not a curable solution for hearing loss, how do we detect hearing loss in order to prevent it? You cannot properly detect hearing loss without a hearing test. Amerisafe Group’s Occupational Health Department offers Audiometric Testing Services for clients, nationwide. Our portable audiometer machine has the capability to merge previous baseline data with annual noise testing information.
What controls are used to plan ahead and prevent noise hazards? Think about the following questions:
Once you’ve answered the above questions, create an occupational health and safety program or call Amerisafe Group’s Occupational Health and Safety Consultants to develop one for you. Our experts will create a custom program tailored to your site specific, or workplace needs.
Educate your supervisors and workers about hearing loss, job specific noise levels and procedures to control noise. Be a responsible employer! Provide proper PPE such as earmuffs or earplugs if overexposure should occur according to your pre-planning questions answered above.
For personal protective equipment such as earmuffs and earplugs, visit our products page below.