In the last two years leading up to 2012 there has been a 50 per cent rise in industrial deafness claims. What exactly is the cause of this sudden increase in industrial deafness? Is it the result of an older generation who worked in a time when health and safety standards were not so rigid on hearing protection?
Is it the neglect of companies who are bending the rules and not offering the correct guidance when it comes to health and safety guidance? Or is it a lack of knowledge from employees who are either not aware or ignore company guidelines? In this guide we will run through 10 common mistakes of health and safety which both employees and employers are making.
Reasons for industrial deafness
1) Ignoring rules and guidance – new employees
Sometimes when starting a new job, employees may struggle with all the new information they have to obtain. Areas that seem unimportant such as health and safety are frequently pushed aside but they are put in place for a reason. Make sure as an employee you are clued up on all things health and safety and as an employer, you push this.
2) Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you have any questions do not be afraid to ask. Approach your supervisor, manager or HR department if there are any health and safety guidelines you don’t understand.
3) Not using protective equipment
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 states that if a workplace noise reaches 80 db or above, protective hearing must be worn. There are various ways of measuring work place noise levels and this should be overseen by your site manager and Health and Safety officer. Your equipment must be worn at all times when in these areas and should be reinforced by your supervisor.
4) Not checking noise levels
There are a variety of certificated machines and gadgets available to measure noise levels and they should be checked frequently.
5) Giving faulty protective gear
Hearing equipment has to reach a certain standard as stipulated in government guidelines. This needs to be checked regularly and any faulty equipment should be reported immediately.
6) Not taking breaks
Your breaks are in place for a reason. These short rests allow your ears some respite before continuing your shift
7) Not going for regular hearing checks
Many employers provide regular, on-site hearing checks for their employees to ensure that any hearing damage is caught early. Usually if caught early enough, the hearing loss can be treated by your GP
8) Ignoring the signs of hearing damage
Many people will ignore the early signs of hearing damage such as ringing and buzzing in the eardrums. If you notice any change in your hearing you should consult your GP immediately.
9) Being afraid to talk to your company about hearing loss
If you are having problems with your hearing because of work, go and see your GP and discuss this with your manager. They may be able to manage your shifts differently to stop any future damage.
10) Not sharing good practice
If you see a colleague ignoring the rules or being unsure of health and safety guidelines, offer your advice and educate them. If this doesn’t work, inform your supervisor who can escalate the matter.
Date Published: October 28, 2013
Author: David Brown