Unfortunately thousands of workers everyday are exposed to noise with the potential to cause hearing loss. The worrying issue is that the majority of these workers don't realise that the noise they work in could be damaging them. Everyone knows an intense noise such as an explosion can cause deafness but quieter noises over time can have the same effects. Your employers have to protect you from noise and if they don't they are breaking the law and you would be eligible to make a hearing loss claim for compensation.
What are dangerous noise levels ?
A noise of 85 dB or over has the potential to cause hearing loss. As hair dryers reach over this level it is easy to be exposed to louder sounds in many occupations. Volume isn't the only factor when avoiding hearing loss; the time of exposure also has an impact. A sound of 85 dB can cause noise induced hearing loss in 8 hours. With every 5dB increase this time is halved. This means that a heavy piece of machinery such as a jack hammer can cause industrial deafness in a matter of minutes.
What precautions should be taken ?
If a sound exceeds 85 dB you should be provided with some form of protection. The first course of action should be to address the noise at its origin. This can be done using new methods, lubrication, sound proofing, new machinery and remote controlling. Applying these methods will avoid anyone being exposed to hazardous noises at all and they won't need personal protection to avoid industrial hearing loss. There are two main forms of personal protection; ear plugs and muffs. Ear muffs offer a high level of protection but can be big and uncomfortable. Due to this they are usually used for short periods of exposure. Ear plugs are small, light and comfortable but don't offer as much protection. They are usually used for a longer length of use.
What should I do if I'm not being protected ?
If none of the above is applied your employer is breaking the law. Firstly you should raise the issue with your management. Hopefully they will run a risk assessment and make changes accordingly. If they don't, the next step is to seek legal advice. If you've worked in the environment for a while you may already have signs of hearing loss so would be due a hearing loss claim. If you haven't worked in the noise for long, you want to avoid developing any.
If you are working in an environment that you have raise your voice over background noise to be heard in conversation, you are in an environment capable to cause hearing loss. You need to follow the steps above to prevent yourself from developing deafness. Many people have worked in noisy environments for decades and now have hearing loss that severely affects their quality of life. There is no excuse for people developing industrial deafness.
Submitted by : This article is contributed by Chris Evans, who gives assistance and guidance to help workers stay healthy. In the unfortunate case where a worker hearing is affected, they aid them in making a hearing claim for compensation.