A decibel is a measure of the intensity of a sound. A-weighted decibels or (dBA) refer to the relative loudness of sounds as perceived by the human ear. Safe levels and time limits for hearing sounds at various decibel levels have been established. People who are exposed to very loud noises for an extended period are at risk for permanent hearing damage.
Hearing impairment can negatively impact one’s everyday life, as a person with hearing loss finds it difficult to understand speech. This can lead to isolation, depression, fewer job opportunities, and diminished enjoyment of social events, music, and daily activities. Fortunately, work-related hearing loss can be prevented.
Have you heard that noisy workplaces are subject to federal regulations? If the noise associated with your job cannot be alleviated (the job requires loud tools and/or machines, or your work area cannot be barricaded from the source of the noise), then hearing protection must be provided — at no cost to the employee. Earplugs, semi-insert plugs, and earmuffs are all effective — but only if used properly!
The accompanying infographic, Hearing Hazards: Noise Safety on the Job, provides valuable facts and statistics about the loudness of sounds, the effects of noise exposure at work, exposure limits by decibel level, and the five components of OSHA’s hearing conservation program. If you or your employees work in a noisy environment, be sure to read this document and take the proper precautions.
Do not let this valuable information go in one ear and out the other!
Author bio: Andrew Pempek is Vice President of Pempek. For 60 years, Pempek has been a leading Chicago commercial electrical contracting company, specializing in industrial electrical power, maintenance services, control services, and more.