Noise Exposure Safety
In this lesson, you will learn about the potential risks of noise exposure and how to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss. You'll discover how noise-induced hearing loss can occur from exposure to loud noises in both the workplace and leisure activities.
Welcome to this workspace safety training! In just a few minutes, we'll cover the essentials of noise exposure safety in the workplace, so you can keep yourself and your colleagues safe from the harmful effects of excessive noise.
Noise exposure refers to the loudness and duration of sounds that can cause damage to our hearing over time. In the workplace, this could be due to heavy machinery, power tools, or even just a busy office environment. Prolonged exposure to high noise levels can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, and other health issues.
To recognize if your workplace has high noise levels, listen for warning signs. If you need to raise your voice to be heard, experience ringing in your ears, or have temporary hearing loss after leaving work, it's time to take action.
Let's take a look at some examples. In a construction site jackhammers and bulldozers can create noise levels, well above 95 decibels, the recommended limit for safe exposure over an 4-hour workday.
In a factory, repetitive use of loud machines can also put workers at risk. Even less obvious sources, like a busy call center or an open office, can cause stress and decreased productivity.
So, what can we do to protect ourselves and our coworkers from harmful noise exposure? Here are some key strategies:
- Engineering controls: Modify or replace equipment with quieter models, or install sound barriers or absorptive materials to minimize noise transmission.
- Administrative controls: Limit exposure time by rotating job tasks, scheduling noisy work during times with fewer employees, or providing quiet break areas.
- Personal protective equipment. Use earplugs or earmuffs to block out noise, but remember that PPE should be the last line of defense.
To stay safe, it's essential to know the noise limits for your workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States has established an 85-decibel limit for an 8-hour workday. As noise levels increase, exposure time should decrease.
Regular noise monitoring can help identify problematic areas and ensure compliance with regulations. Talk to your employer about conducting a noise assessment and implementing a hearing conservation program.
In conclusion, noise exposure is a critical workplace safety concern. By recognizing high noise levels, implementing noise reduction strategies, and adhering to exposure limits, we can protect our hearing and overall well-being. Remember, your hearing is invaluable. Take care of it!