AZ SCF Posts Reminder On Protection Against Hearing Loss


Phoenix, AZ (CompNewsNetwork) - About 30 million U.S. workers face noise levels in the workplace that could damage their hearing.

Employers are required to have a formal hearing conservation program for their workers when workplace noise levels reach a consistent 85 decibels or above during a normal 8-hour day (a power lawn mower can emit 90 decibels and a jackhammer 110 decibels of noise), according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,

SCF Arizona reminds all employers and employees that preventing hearing loss from workplace noise levels is a dual responsibility.

“The employer's responsibility is to test and see if there are any hazards,” says SCF Loss Control Consultant Gerry Coley. “If there is, they have to put a program in place and provide the personal protective equipment.

“The employee has to take the initiative to wear the PPE. If he doesn't, it's his hearing that will be damaged,” Coley adds.

The most common PPE used to guard against hearing loss are ear muffs and ear plugs. Both come in various types and sizes. It's important that the worker use the ear plug that best fits his ear and ear canal because they are not one size fits all, hearing loss experts say.

A hearing conservation program consists of providing the proper PPE when noise levels cannot be engineered out or controlled through work practices, such as rotating workers to limit exposure. Examples of engineering out high noise levels include erecting sound barriers around the noise source or placing the source in an isolated section of the workplace.

The employer's hearing program also must provide annual hearing tests, also known as audiograms, to workers functioning in high noise level conditions. If it is determined that a worker experiences a hearing loss of 10 decibels or more due to workplace exposure, further steps must be taken to reduce noise levels for that worker. It would also trigger mandatory training and PPE usage for all exposed employees.

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