Dangerous Noise Levels & Worker Safety
For many people, noise in the workplace can be nothing more than an annoyance. But for people who work in certain industries, noise can be a genuine occupational hazard. According to the CDC, about $242 million is spent on workers compensation benefits for hearing loss disabilities each year, with approximately 22 million US workers exposed to hazardous noise levels at work.
When people are regularly exposed to noise created by things like powerful tools, machinery, or loud vehicles on the job, they’re at risk for developing permanent hearing loss or tinnitus. But what, exactly, is considered a dangerous noise level? The recommended exposure limit from NIOSH is 85 decibels, A-weighted, as an 8-hour time-weighted average. The permissible exposure limit set by OSHA is 90 decibels as an 8-hour time-weighted average.
Some industries where employees are at a high risk for noise-related injuries include:
- Airline and railway workers
Not only do high-noise environments put people at risk for permanent hearing damage or loss, noise can jeopardize worker safety by making it difficult for workers to hear warnings that could let them know about a dangerous situation.
How Employers Can Prevent Hearing Damage
Employers have many options to protect workers from sustaining noise-related injuries. Providing ear protection is one common solution, but it can also include using low-noise tools and machinery when possible, or using barriers to isolate the source of the noise. OSHA also suggests administrative steps that can be taken to reduce noise exposure, such as limiting the amount of time people spend at noise sources and limiting the operation of loud machinery/tools to times when fewer people would be exposed.
OSHA also recommends creating quiet spaces where people can take breaks from high levels of noise.
Contact a Michigan Workplace Injury Lawyer
Not all workplace injuries are the result of one direct action. Regular, long-term exposure to dangerous conditions can potentially cause illnesses or injuries, such as hearing loss, down the line. Even if a medical condition took a long time to develop, you may have legal options for your damages and you should contact a workplace injury lawyer to learn more about what you should do next.
At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to speak to a lawyer experienced in helping the victims of workplace injuries in the state of Michigan and assisting them with their workers compensation claims. Even if your employer seems to be cooperating with your workers compensation claim, we can still help make sure you get all of the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us today for help with your case.
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