Those working in Tennessee industries such as mining, construction and even manufacturing may be used to working under noisy conditions, but do they realize the danger of hearing loss? While it has been reported as the workplace injury suffered most commonly by workers in the United States, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations guiding noise exposure safety are outdated. Now critics are calling on OHSA to update the regulations made back in the 1970s.
It is estimated that an average of 22 million people work in conditions where noise levels are considered hazardous, and workers’ compensation claims in excess of $200 million are paid annually in this regard. These figures clearly call for attention to be paid to the regulations set so many years ago so as to conform to the societal changes that have occurred in the intervening years. Interestingly, a recent study found that it is not employees working in high noise levels who are the most at risk, but rather those working in environments where the levels of noise are seen as moderate.
It seems that in work environments where workers are exposed to high levels of noise, greater reliance on protective gear is evident. The same does not hold true for those working in less noisy workplaces. To make matters worse, many — including OHSA — do not take into consideration the exposure to noise levels that happens in everyday life, when visiting restaurants, sporting events and concerts — all of which add to the a cumulative risk of possible harmful exposure.
There are many ways in which Tennessee employers can protect employees against noise exposure and create awareness of the danger of workplace injury involved. However, this does not always seem to happen. Workers suffering from hearing loss and/or hearing disorders resulting from exposure to detrimental noise levels on the job may benefit from consulting with a lawyer to discuss the possibility of securing workers’ compensation benefits for all covered losses.
Source: pbs.org, “America’s most common workplace injury is hearing loss“, Zhai Yun Tan, Accessed on Sept.24, 2016