Occupational Hearing Loss and Workers’ Compensation

Excessive noise is a widely known hazard for workers that can result in temporary or permanent hearing damage. While the affects of loud noise in the workplace are already known, employers must continue to cultivate defenses to protect the well being of workers. Any worker who has suffered hearing damage while performing work-related duties is entitled to compensation.

Specific legal requirements exist in South Carolina and nationwide to prevent permanent hearing loss caused by excessive noise. Employers are responsible for identifying the levels of noise in their workplace, when using certain machinery or equipment, or when performing specific job duties. After the levels of noise are identified, employers must take necessary preventative action to prevent hearing loss. Our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping employees pursue recovery for hearing loss sustained at work.

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Research on hearing loss caused by long term exposure to noise has been studied since the 18th century. Since then additional scientific research has revealed what levels of noise create the greatest risk of hearing damage. Long-term studies have proven that there is a direct link between work and occupational noise-induced hearing loss (ONIHL)

Workers in industrial or construction settings are at the highest risk of noise injury. In addition employees who work at clubs, bars, restaurants, or at concert venues may also be at risk of hearing loss. Scientific evidence also suggests that the regular use of personal devices including iPods and iPhones or MP3 players can also create the risk of hearing damage.

To prevent hearing loss in environments of excessive noise, employers and businesses must often consult with healthcare professionals, including Occupational Hazard nurses. An OH nurse has a pivotal role in helping to prevent workplace injuries by identifying risks and developing preventative measures to protect workers. In a recent article, OH nurses are described as critical to helping guide employers, regulators, and other individuals and entities responsible for worker safety.

An employer who has knowledge of excessive noise exposure in the workplace should consult with an OH nurse to implement noise reduction and noise control policies and procedures. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, employers are responsible for protecting the hearing of their employees. Employers must consult with professional experts who can analyze noise hazards. Once risks are identified, employers must provide appropriate defense equipment and disseminate information to workers to avoid excessive exposure to noise. In some cases, noise levels are so high that workers should not be exposed at all.

Occupational Hazard nurse are often called upon to assess noise in the workplace and to give instruction to employers and employees. This requires nurses to have a specific understanding of an industry so that applicable policies can be implemented in the workplace. The legal duty to understand and prevent noise exposure gives many employers the incentive to hire outside experts.

Hearing loss or deafness caused by occupational exposure is a disease recognized by the disability benefit system and the workers’ compensation system. Victims of noise exposure and hearing loss should consult with an experienced expert as soon as hearing damage is recognized.

If you or someone you love has suffered occupational hearing loss in North or South Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your ca

More Blog Entries:
New OSHA Rule for Crane and Derrick Workers, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 27, 2013

New Legislation Aims to Bolster OSHA Role in Worker Safety, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 25, 2013

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