Reduce the Dangers of Noise
Noise. It’s everywhere. In your home. In your car. In your workplace. While some noise is welcome, repeated, unprotected exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss, especially in the workplace. It’s not a new hazard to the workplace, but it sometimes goes overlooked.
In order to protect against the dangers of noise, OSHA requires workplaces to implement a hearing conservation program when employees may be exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 decibels (dB) or higher. An effective hearing conservation program should consist of five principals:
- Noise monitoring – OSHA requires that you monitor work areas to identify employees who are exposed to 85 dB TWA, or higher. Monitoring records should be maintained and kept for at least 2 years.
- Engineering and administrative controlscontent – If monitoring determines that sound levels exceed 100 dB TWA, you must identify what engineering or environmental changes, such as soundproofing, can be made to reduce noise levels.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Employees working in areas where noise is 85 dB TWA or higher, must be provided with appropriate hearing protectors, such as earplugs, ear canal caps, and ear muffs, at no cost to them.
- Audiometric testing – All employees exposed to 85 dB TWA or higher must have a baseline audiogram within 6 months of the first exposure, and every year after that.
- Employee training – Supervisors must conduct annual training sessions for employees on the proper use of hearing protection.
Employees should also be trained on the signs and symptoms of hearing loss, including:
- Persistent ringing in their ears
- Difficulty hearing soft sounds, like the ticking of a watch
- Complaints from the family that the worker constantly plays the radio or TV too loudly
With the proper hearing protection and precautions in place, the dangers of excessive noise can be minimized, if not eliminated. There are numerous types of hearing protectors available. If you need help finding the right one for you and your workplace, give our Technical Support Reps a call at 800-631-1246, or email moc.ytefasnrehtron@troppushcet. They’ll give you the information you need to make the right choice.
Source: Safety Daily Advisor