Noise - Not Just in the Workplace
- Ryan Cannady (URS-CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR))
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- March 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 32 - 38
- 2020. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 19 since 2007
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- Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the U.S.
- Occupational noise exposure is maintained, while recreational noise has been shown to exceed regulatory limits without proper controls.
- Annually administered workplace audiograms often cannot distinguish between occupational and nonoccupational noise damage and, consequently, the employer must assume liability.
- Safety professionals must establish more effective hearing conservation programs to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise is among the most common hazards employees are exposed to in the workplace. OSHA (2020) states that millions of employees are exposed to excessive noise in their work environment. The agency reports that U.S. businesses paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for negligent protection from noise, and also that an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers’ compensation for hearing loss disability (OSHA, 2020).
Regulatory agencies and companies have aimed to reduce noise exposure and protect employees throughout the workplace through enforcement and mitigation measures. For example, a hearing conservation program is required when employees are exposed to noise levels that meet or exceed the permissible exposure limit in decibels (OSHA, 2008). However, the reach of these efforts does not extend outside the work environment. This article discusses the harmful effects of noise and several nonoccupational activities that generate excessive noise levels. Noise in recreational activities such as target shooting, exercise classes, sporting events, motorsports, landscaping, visiting bars or nightclubs, and playing a musical instrument can affect individual health. While noise remains prevalent throughout industry, it is critical to remain aware of nonoccupational noise exposure and its harmful effects.
|File Size||428 KB||Number of Pages||7|