Streamline - Winter 2015 - (Page 19)

Hearing Protection - Keep Your Employees Safe BY GARY GANDEE, CIRCUIT RIDER #2 wearing my what?" Thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. Hearing protection at work can help prevent this. "IF I WaS Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss. Short term exposure to loud noise can also cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noisy area. However, repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/ or hearing loss. Loud noise can also create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals. What are the warning signs that your workplace may be too noisy? Noise may be a problem in your workplace if: * You hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work. * You have to shout to be heard by a co-worker an arm's length away. * You experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work. How loud is too loud? Noise is measured in units of sound pressure levels called decibels, named after Alexander Graham Bell, using A-weighted sound levels (dBA). The A-weighted sound levels closely match the perception of loudness by the human ear. Decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, which means that a small change in the number of decibels results in a huge change in the amount of noise and the potential damage to a person's hearing. OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker's time weighted average over an eight hour day. With noise, OSHA's permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 90 dBA for all workers for an eight hour day. The OSHA standard uses a 5 dBA exchange rate. This means that when the noise level is increased by 5 dBA, the amount of time a person can be exposed to a certain noise level to receive the same dose is cut in half. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recommended that all worker exposures to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss. NIOSH has found that significant noise-induced hearing loss occurs at the exposure levels equivalent to the OSHA PEL based on updated information obtained from literature reviews. NIOSH also recommends a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time. An effective hearing conservation program must be implemented by employers in general industry whenever OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker's time weighted average over an eight hour day. worker noise exposure is equal to or greater than 85 dBA for an eight hour exposure, or in the construction industry when exposures exceed 90 dBA for an eight hour exposure. This program strives to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and hearing www.vrwa.org 19 http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2015

From the President: Performance Evaluation
From the Executive Director: Save the Date!
Professional or Job Holder: Which Will You Be?
Emergencies: Do You Have A Plan?
Finding Your Way
Hearing Protection – Keep Your Employees Safe
Coal
Economic Opportunity: USDA Rural Development/Virginia
Rate Setting – It’s Easy?
Chronic Leaks
NRWA Recap
Throwing My Loop: Fresh Water
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
2015-2016 Membership Directory
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
VRWA Members Corner
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com

Streamline - Winter 2015

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