Occupational hearing loss is one of the leading causes of hearing impairments. The damage is usually permanent but almost always preventable.
Hearing loss can negatively impact communication, employment opportunities, job performance, injury risk, depression, and anxiety.
When should employees wear hearing protection?
A person can be exposed to sounds that measure at an average of 85dB or less over eight hours. If decibel levels are higher than this, hearing protection in the form of earplugs or earmuffs must be worn by all employees in the area where the excessive noise occurs.
Recommended actions to take immediately:
- Measure noise levels with a sound-measuring instrument to ascertain where noise levels are prevalent in your shop. Consider securing the services of an audiologist or, at minimum, conduct sampling estimates with a smartphone using an Android or iPhone
- Review suitable types of ear protection with your employees and select a method they feel comfortable using daily.
- Encourage employees by management’s example of wearing hearing protection devices while in the areas where PPE is required.
Bottom line: Implementing methods to reduce worker exposure to hazardous noise levels is a sound investment!
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members with safety. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].