Approximately 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to occupational noise resulting in hearing impairment or loss.
People are exposed to all sorts of hazards at the work place – some more hazardous and severe than others. In acknowledgement of Workers Memorial Day on 28th April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) devoted its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) to discussing occupational health concerns. The report addressed injuries, illnesses, and death facing millions of employees at their workplace. The data collated revealed that work-related injuries are still a huge concern for many workers in various industries. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) estimates that in the year 2014, fatalities arising out of work-related injuries were 4,679.
Occupational Noise Facts and Statistics
• About four million workers in the U.S. work in an environment that has damaging noise levels.
• 22 million workers are exposed to damaging noise levels at the work place every year.
• About 10 million have occupational noise-related hearing loss.
• Noise-related hearing loss has been the most prevalent occupational health concern for more than twenty-five years.
• Research conducted in the year 2007 revealed that about 23,000 cases of occupational hearing loss were reported.
• The cases of work-related hearing loss accounted for 14% of the total work-related illnesses in the year 2007.
• In the same year, about 82 percent of reported cases of occupational noise induced hearing loss were from the manufacturing industry.
Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project
The MMWR issue discusses work-related hearing impairment and the Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project. It is estimated that approximately 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to occupational noise. The project also revealed that hearing loss caused primarily due to exposure to high levels of noise at the work place is one of the most common work-related injury.
Exposure to high levels of noise for a prolonged period can cause permanent hearing loss, which cannot be corrected by surgery or hearing aids. At times, prolonged exposure to loud noise can also cause a permanent ringing in the ears. Loud noises can cause physical and mental stress, reduces productivity and quality of work, and can interfere with communication and concentration, making workers susceptible to additional workplace-related injuries.
According to NIOSH, employers are advised to limit worker exposure to noise below a level that is equal to 85 dBA per eight hours. Following these limitations can reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss.
Work Comp for Occupational Hearing Loss
If you have been exposed to repeated high levels of noise at the workplace and have suffered hearing impairment or loss due, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Consult a St. Louis injured at work lawyer to understand your legal rights. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.