When the workplace goes into ergonomic changes to improve employee safety and health, managers first think about physical and musculoskeletal hazards. Reaching, lifting, and engaging in impactful movements can cause harm and maximize the risk of injury during an extended shift.
Of course, making changes to equipment controls and workplace layout can reduce these risks. But the broad spectrum of ergonomics can also involve hazards that don’t fall into this category. For instance, some small workplace improvements can also lead to some adverse effects like employee vision and hearing issues.
Excessive noise levels over a long time can damage your hearing. This may happen painlessly and gradually that you may not observe the minor deterioration from one day to the next. Excessive noise in the workplace might present a risk of hearing issues and other health problems.
The parts of the ear that perform high-frequency sounds are commonly the first to be affected. The factors of hearing loss depend on how long you are exposed to intense noise levels. Some people exposed to extreme noise can develop tinnitus, where a person can experience a constant ringing sound.
Also, the condition can become even worse, that resulting in no cure. Additionally, hearing aids can only amplify sounds and can’t bring back normal hearing.
Two Forms of Hearing Damage
However, the second form could be less recognizable and more insidious without a noise audit.
Here’s how you can address this concern as you look for ways to foster hearing protection and a better workplace environment.
Provide Workers with Hearing Protectors
Consider approaching every area when it comes to solving the noise pollution problem. For instance, provide your employees with noise-canceling headphones or protective ear guards that can help reduce the risk of hearing loss.
But one of the most effective solutions can be found by muffling the origin of the noise and adapting soundproof generators to minimize output. Consider using other mechanical interventions, like placing sound-absorbing partition between employees and the noise source.
You can also consider using powered-industrial trucks that are soundproof and versatile when it comes to lifting and moving materials from end to end. However, operators need to have a forklift card to operate the equipment in a safe manner.
Conduct Noise Audits
Depending on your workplace operations, measure ambient noise levels, and conduct a noise audit throughout your workplace. Measure the standards in every area or room where employees spend time, including on-site and off-site workspaces. It could also be residential construction sites, and both exterior and interior spaces that are employer-controlled or owned.
The intensity of noise is measured with the help of decibel-measuring equipment. Use this device to test at every hour in an average shift. Since some worksites might face more ambient sound at various points during a shift, this device will help you to measure the noise levels and in taking preventative steps.
Never Stop Trying New Solutions
As an employer, you should always enforce the use of ear guards instead of abandoning it. Once you install a noise depletion barrier, test the ambient noise at regular intervals to ensure the barrier stays effective.
Employers should make hearing protectors available to employees who are exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted of 85 decibels or more at no cost. If you experience any noise-induced hearing loss, consult your doctor immediately!