Let’s try to keep it quiet!

February 11, 2015

Understanding OSHA Rule Regarding Occupational Noise Exposure

Filed under: Noise Tolerance Levels — Deborah Dera @ 7:33 am

noiseAccording to the Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration (OSHA), in the United States, around 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise through their occupation. In fact, for more than 25 years, hearing loss due to noise is listed as one of the greatest occupational health concerns in this country. Thousands of workers have suffered hearing loss that is permanent and significant.

It is exposure to noise at very high levels that can cause this permanent hearing loss and it cannot be corrected by hearing aids or surgery. While a short-term exposure to noise can result in ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or a temporary muffling or feeling as though your ears are stuffed up, they will go away after getting away from the source of the noise. Repeated exposure to noise, though, can lead to permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.

How do you know your workplace may be too noisy and pose a danger to your hearing?

OSHA offers the following clues that you may be in danger of permanent hearing loss due to occupational noise if:

  • When you leave your workplace, you still have a ringing or hear a humming in your ears.
  • Do you have to shout to your coworkers or do they need to shout for you to hear them when there is only an arm’s length of distance between you?
  • When you leave work, you have a temporary hearing loss that takes a short time to clear up.

If any of these apply to you, then you may be at risk for hearing loss due to occupational noise exposure.

To reduce the risks of noise exposure, OSHA recommends that businesses put in place both engineering controls and administrative controls.

Engineering controls include the implementation of tools and machine that are low-noise, keeping machinery and equipment lubricated and maintained to reduce noise, providing barriers such as sound walls or curtains between workers and loud equipment, and keeping the source of the noise enclosed or isolated from workers. Administrative controls can include offering quiet locations for workers to rest and get relief from noise and limiting the amount of time workers are exposed to noise. In addition, businesses can provide hearing protection devices for workers, although this is not the ideal solution.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress