In a recent press release, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced they will host a stakeholder meeting to gather suggestions and comments on prevention of occupational hearing loss. The meeting is set for November 3, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C. at the Frances Perkins Building. OSHA wants to obtain information from stakeholders regarding feasible engineering controls, personal protective equipment and hearing conservation programs.
Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers in Greensboro understand that more than 20,000 employees a year suffer preventable work-related hearing loss and something needs to be done to reduce these types of injuries occurring on the job.
Back in January we posted on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Blog regarding OSHA’s launching an outreach, consultation and educational plan on reducing hearing loss in the workplace.
Part of the plan included OSHA’s commitment to having this stakeholder meeting to obtain the opinions and views of noise control experts, workers, public health professionals and employers. It is reported that roughly 30 million people in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous noise levels in the workplace. For over 25 years noise-related hearing loss has been among the most common occupational health worries in the U.S. Every year thousands of workers experience occupational hearing loss from high noise levels in the workplace.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported since 2004, that almost 125,000 workers have experienced considerable or permanent hearing loss. According to BLS, there were over 21,000 additional cases in 2009 alone. Being repeatedly exposed to extreme noise levels causes permanent hearing loss that can not be corrected with surgery or hearing aids. Being exposed to a loud noise for a short time can cause tinnitus (ringing in your ears) or cause your ears to feel clogged. After some time your ears will go back to feeling normal. With prolonged exposure these symptoms don’t go away. Some clues your work environment may be too loud is if you experience humming or ringing in your ears after your shift is over, while at work you have to shout at co-workers that are standing close by and after leaving work you experience a temporary hearing loss.
What can reduce harmful noise levels in the workplace?
-Engineering controls: use low-noise machinery and tools, keep equipment and machinery well lubricated, place curtains or sound walls between workers and the noise source, isolate or enclose the noise source.
-Administrative controls: use noisy equipment and machinery during times with the fewest workers, workers should have limits on how long they can be in a noisy area, have quiet/sound proof areas for workers, restrict noise areas to only those workers that have to be there, all others should stay away.
If you are interested in attending this meeting you can call 781-674-7374 or go online to register or send a fax, with the following information: contact information, stakeholder’s name and company or organization name to 781-674-7200.
If you have experienced a hearing loss due to your workplace surroundings or are dealing with a disability or workers’ compensation claim, call the Lee Law Offices, P.A. now for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Fewer Willful Violation Citations in North Carolina Leads to High Rate of Workplace Injuries in Unsafe Work Environments, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2011.
Experienced North Carolina Law Firm Can Help with Complicated Workers’ Compensation Claims in North Carolina, South Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 12, 2011.