NIOSH to create resource to help employers 'buy quiet'

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its affiliates are working to develop a "Buy Quiet" web tool to help employers keep hazardous noise levels to a minimum at various work sites by using quieter tools and machinery.

According to Heidi Hudson and Chuck Hayden of NIOSH, "The process encourages a purchaser to compare the noise emission levels of differing models of equipment being purchased and, whenever possible, purchase the quieter model. 'Buy quiet' provides an easy and effective method for an employer to demonstrate a commitment to the use of the best available technology."

The web tool creators expect it will help change market forces so that quieter machines and equipment will be in higher demand in the construction and manufacturing industries and to motivate manufacturers to produce such items.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that hearing loss stemming from high noise levels cannot be helped by surgery or hearing aids, highlighting the importance of using safety products like ear plugs or ear muffs when working in a loud environment. 

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