6 Things Employers Can Do to Prevent Occupational Hearing Loss

Prevent hearing loss in the workplace by implementing a hearing conservation program, reducing noise, scheduling breaks, providing PPE, and openly discussing noise safety.

manufacturing worker with hearing protection

Occupational hearing loss, as the name implies, is damage to the inner ear from noise or vibrations that lead to partial or complete loss of hearing. Exposure to loud noise in the workplace leaves your workers susceptible to occupational hearing loss.

Employees are the lifeblood of any business, and employers are responsible for their safety. This also means ensuring that the loud noise in your work facility doesn’t affect your workers. Below are a few things you can do to prevent occupational hearing loss in your workplace.

Understand the Workplace Noise Levels

Knowing the intensity and duration of workplace noise is crucial to understanding its impact on your workers’ hearing. Employers must implement a hearing conservation program when noise is at or above 85 decibels for over eight working hours daily, as stipulated by the Occupational Safety and Hazards Association (OSHA). 

This program strives to prevent or mitigate the harmful effects of noise and preserve workers’ hearing. Employers can use instruments like noise dosimeters, sound level meters, and octave band analyzers to gauge noise levels in the workplace. It’s worth noting that failing to implement a noise conservation program could lead to Hefty fines by OSHA.

Reduce Equipment Noise

Worn-out and malfunctioning equipment are generally much noisier than equipment in proper working condition. Regularly service your equipment and conduct prompt repairs to reduce noise from equipment. Alternatively, consider finding quieter alternatives to your equipment or fitting acoustic enclosures around noisy machines.

Schedule Regular Breaks

Ensuring your workers take regular breaks from the clamor of machines and other items goes a long way toward preventing occupational hearing loss. The best way to ensure adequate breaks is implementing a rotating duties work formula, where workers work in short, rotating shifts. This limits their noise exposure and reduces the likelihood of occupational hearing loss.

Provide Appropriate PPE

Ensure all your workers wear appropriate PPE to protect them from excessive noise and other workplace hazards. Earplugs and earmuffs are great for blocking out the noise so workers can preserve their hearing. 

Openly Discuss Noise Safety

Keep your employees in the loop by having open discussions about noise safety. These forums or meetings should focus on ensuring appropriate noise levels, protecting against harmful noise, and providing an avenue for airing out any noise complaints. Also, put up warning signs to warn workers of areas with excessive noise.

Protect Your Workers’ Hearing

A healthy and thriving workforce is imperative to the success of any company. Keep your workers safe from noise hazards and occupational hearing loss by implementing the above strategies. With proper education, the right policies and upgrades, you can keep hearing loss at bay.

Speak With a St. Louis Work Injury Attorney

Are you an employee suffering from occupational hearing loss? Contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffman for legal assistance in obtaining compensation for hearing loss at work.

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Updated: April 24, 2023