When it comes to the consequences of accidents at work, few are as serious as hearing loss. Industrial deafness is a serious concern in a number of industries where high levels of noise are a prominent feature in day-to-day working life.
Construction and manufacturing are just two examples of industries where employers and workers alike must guard against the threat of industrial deafness at work.
Fortunately, there are a number of techniques and pieces of protective equipment available to help prevent hearing loss at work. Here are three of the best.
Limiting the amount of noise to prevent industrial deafness
Employers can protect their staff from hearing injuries at work by doing everything that is reasonably practicable to reduce the amount of noise in the working environment.
A typical factory, for example, has an average noise level of around 90 decibels. Whilst this is below the threshold before noises are considered deafening, bursts of activity from certain machines may well raise the noise level into the deafening category.
Besides, 90 decibels is still very loud, especially for someone working an eight-hour shift and work-related hearing problems can easily develop over time.
Whenever possible, mufflers should be installed on machines to limit noise levels whilst workstations should be located as far as possible from the noisiest machines.
Keeping the machines in good working condition can also help prevent unnecessary noise.
Barriers, panels and baffles
Something as simple as a wall or curtain made of acoustic materials can also reduce the levels of noise. However, these should be used more as an additional treatment rather than the main source of noise prevention and, whilst they may limit hearing damage to surrounding staff, do little in terms of protecting the workers using the machines themselves.
They must be placed sufficiently near to the machines to be effective and to prevent the noise simply travelling around them.
Headphones and ear plugs
These are essential bits of protective kit for anyone working directly with noisy machines. Anyone tasked with using a pneumatic drill, for example, will soon suffer damaged hearing at work if sufficiently strong headphones are not provided.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure that their staff are able to do their jobs without the risk of injures at work and if these responsibilities are not met, you may have a case for work accident compensation.
Call Accident Advice Helpline today to find out more on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: March 6, 2014
Author: David Brown