Hearing Damage and Safety in the Workplace: The Impact of Excess Noise and How to Protect Your Workers

One of the highest priorities for any company is the safety of their workers. However, there is one critical aspect of workers’ safety that many companies overlook, and it could lead to devastating and life changing injuries: occupational hearing damage or loss.

If you work in an industry that is prone to loud noise and the potential for hearing damage, it is important to understand the dangers this issue poses and what you can do to protect your employees. Here is some valuable information about occupational hearing damage and what you can do to prevent it

Dangers of Occupational Noise

In many workplaces, exposure to noise is unavoidable. However, if you are not aware of the potential dangers of continued noise exposure, you are putting your workers at the risk of suffering from several debilitating health issues. Additionally, not protecting your workers’ hearing can also impact your company’s bottom line.

Here are a few of the potential problems that could arise if workers are exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time.

Problems With Efficiency and Communication Arise

When workers are exposed to consistently high levels of noise, they simply cannot hear one another. In addition to creating issues with communication between workers, excessive noise levels can also reduce efficiency. The constant exposure to high noise can cause your employees to lose focus, which in turn makes them less productive.

Stress Increases

Being exposed to loud noises for several hours a day can have a profoundly negative impact on employees and increase their stress levels. That impact can also carry into their life outside of work, making them feel stressed more often than usual.

Tinnitus Develops

If you’ve ever had a persistent ringing in your ears, you know how much it can affect your daily life. Tinnitus is a common problem associated with prolonged exposure to loud noises, and it can impact your employees’ ability to concentrate and even sleep well.

Hearing Damage and Loss Occurs

In more extreme cases, when employees are exposed to loud noises for several months or even years, that exposure can lead to profound hearing damage or even hearing loss.

Workplace Accidents May Increase

When your workers are unable to communicate or concentrate effectively, it can actually lead to an increase in workplace accidents. And if your employees don’t get enough sleep because of any noise-related side effects from work, their grogginess also increases the risk for accidents.

Tips to Reduce the Dangers of Occupational Noise

Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce the noise at your workplace and protect your employees from suffering the negative impacts of occupational noise exposure.

Invest in High-Quality Machinery

If your machinery is of lesser quality or old, it won’t run as efficiently, which can greatly impact the amount of noise it produces. Investing in newer, high-quality machinery is a great way to keep the noise levels in your facility at an acceptable level.

Upgrade the Noisy Parts on Your Existing Machinery

In cases where your machinery is newer or you simply don’t have the budget to replace everything in your facility, focus on reducing the noise your existing machine makes. For example, installing anti-vibration mountings and enclosing any hydraulic pumps in shells are two ways to reduce occupational noise.

Protect Your Office Staff

Even if your office staff works in a separate space, it doesn’t mean they aren’t exposed to noise. Consider constructing an in-plant office that features insulating panels, which are designed to reduce noise pollution in specific areas.

 

Occupational noise, especially at high and dangerous levels, is a serious problem, particularly in industrial facilities and plants. If you’re having trouble with the noise in your place of business or simply need more help designing your office space or facility, look to the professionals at Queen City Material Handling Equipment for assistance.