February 2012

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NIOSH recommends ways to prevent hearing loss

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recommendations for preventing permanent hearing loss in the workplace.

Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. Hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noise may occur long before changes in hearing are perceived, and hearing lost because of noise is permanent.

To prevent hearing loss, NIOSH recommends using feasible noise controls, such as enclosures, coated chains and isolators; informing management about worn or broken noise controls and noisy machinery; replacing and repairing defective mufflers; using remote controls for machine operation; limiting time in noisy areas by rotating co-workers; turning off equipment when it is not in use; wearing hearing protection, such as expandable foam plugs, canal caps or earmuffs when exposure to noise is unavoidable; maintaining and lubricating equipment; and cleaning and...

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