Loud noises at work are capable of damaging your hearing. Damage usually happens over time and may only become apparent when damage caused by noise combines with hearing loss due to ageing. This is when the full extent of damage regarding impaired hearing becomes noticeable.
Noise at work can cause hearing damage that is permanent and disabling.
Whereas damage is commonly caused gradual, by repetitive loud noises, it can also happen suddenly, due to extremely loud noises. Along with hearing loss, employees can develop tinnitus, a condition which can lead to disturbed sleep due to constant ringing in the ears.
A noisy workplace can also interfere with communications, make warnings difficult to hear. This leads to a reduce awareness of the employees surroundings. These factors often lead to safety risks, resulting in great risk of injury or death.
Common Noise related hazards include:
- noisy work environments - eg construction, manufacture or waste and recycling
- noisy power tools or machinery
- noises caused by impacts (such as hammering, or pneumatic impact tools)
The first preventative measure should be to think about removing the source of noise altogether. If this is not possible a risk assessment should be taken and the following solutions may be considered.;
- using quieter equipment or a different or a quieter process
- using screens, barriers and absorbent materials in order to reduce noise
- the design and layout of the workplace to create a quieter workplace
- limit the time people spend in noisy areas
P.P.E (Personal Protective Equipment)
Hearing P.P.E must be issued to employees:
- where extra protection is required in addition to other implement protective measures
- for short-term protection, while other methods of controlling noise are being developed
Employees who are provided with hearing protection should receive training in how to use it. Incorrect use of P.P.E usually causes it to complete lose its effectiveness.
Noise and many other essential topics are covered in our Online Health and Safety course. Find out more here.
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