Page 36 - OHS, March 2021
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Employees at Risk of Hearing Loss: What Employers Can Do to Help
Hearing loss is an easily preventable consequence of not wearing proper hearing protection on the job.
Millions and millions of employees show up, do their job, clock out and go home day after day, month after month, year after year. However, for some 22 million people, this workday routine harbors a hidden
danger: potential for permanent hearing loss from exposure to loud noise in the workplace.
Yet, according to every major regulatory and protection agency from OSHA to the World Health Organization (WHO) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), workplace hearing loss is 100 percent preventable.
Why, then, are U.S. businesses paying more than $1.5 million annually in penalties for improper implementation or non- compliance with OSHA’s hearing conservation program? Perhaps it is because when it comes to loud and harmful noise in the workplace, people understand the need for hearing protection
devices (HPDs), yet are unaware of what goes into selecting proper HPDs.
Not only can proper HPDs protect employees against hearing loss, but they also have the potential to save employers an estimated $242 million annually in workplace-related hearing loss disability through workers’ compensation.1
Risk Factors
When workplace noise and vibrations occur at a high level or continue for an extended period of time, workers are at higher risk of experiencing temporary or permanent hearing loss. Among those at high risk include industrial workers who are exposed to potentially damaging, high-noise situations as a result of equipment and processes associated with production, manufacturing, foundries, mills and shops.
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