Noise Induced Hearing Loss

 Audio Podcast available at the bottom of this post or on itunes.

  • 0:25 How to save money for real safety issues
  • 0:44 When you don’t need to manage noise
  • 2:33 Good rule to check for harmful noise levels
  • 3:16 Actions in your workplace

Quotable:
“…a quick test for a harmful level of workplace noise” – Tony – Click to Tweet

Tony Collins here and today we’ll talk about Hearing loss or as it is also called, NIHL or Noise Induced Hearing Loss.

As with anything that can hurt you in the workplace, including noise, we need to have a plan in place to minimise the chance of harm to you and your employees. I have found though that people can raise noise as a safety issue when it is not.

For example, if there are machines running or background noise levels that are annoying, but are not actually harmful to the ears – you are not going to go deaf.

Workplace Hearing LossThe fact is, you do not need to mitigate the noise for safety reasons, if it is not harming people. The best example, I often see if people playing a radio loudly. It still may not be at a harmful level, but people make not like the music on the radio station. One person’s music is another person’s safety hazard. What you do have here is a management issue and need to work out how do I solve this so people can get on and enjoy their work.

But how do you know how noisy it has to be before it becomes a problem and know if it will damage a persons hearing? I’m not going to give you the decibels ratings – you can look them up but they are only a number. The rule of thumb is if you have to shout from 1 meter in order to be heard, then you probably have a problem. Or any loud impact or banging noises, you may have a problem here.

If you do have this situation, then you going to have to get in a technical expert who can analyze and document the noise amplitude and maybe even the frequency.

So to put this into action, take a walk around your workplace using your ears as the first cut in identifying those areas that need further investigation.

This is Tony Collins at Safetyhub.co.nz