Noise hazards in the workplace can cause hearing loss and permanent damage. However, there are steps you can take to help prevent hearing loss from occupational noise.
Following are some tips from the National Transit Institute and United Steelworkers:
- Make sure noise caused by unbalanced, broken or poorly maintained equipment is reported. Reducing noise at the source can help protect everyone in the area.
- Use hearing protection when necessary, such as earmuffs and earplugs; make sure they fit properly. Hearing protective devices are required to be labeled with a noise reduction ratio, which is the manufacturer's claim of how much noise reduction the device provides.
- Enclose noisy machinery, fans or motors or move them away from workers.
- Rearrange workers' schedules or tasks to decrease exposure time.
- A hearing conservation program should be implemented by employers when workers are exposed to noise levels that exceed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure levels. Regular hearing checks may be valuable for all workers even if not specifically required by OSHA rules.
- Employees should be trained regarding the effects of noise hazards and how to protect themselves.