Safety Alert – I Heard That

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Hearing Protection

Hearing loss is one of the most permanent types of workplace injuries that can and probably will remain with employees for the rest of their lives.  As an employer, it’s critical to ensure that your staff understands the risk, that you have identified areas of your workplace that pose a risk, and that you have done everything possible to try and protect your employees.  In 2010-2011, deafness accounted for 3.6% of all serious workplace injuries, which equated to 4,583 workers’ compensation claims (Safe Work Australia).    Hearing protection is at times the last line of defense for protecting employees, but it’s critical that they understand when and how to use it and their required use should be enforced.

Do you have similar safety risks in your workplace?

  • Are there areas within your facility where you have to raise your voice to speak to others, just so that they can hear you?
  • Do your employees already wear hearing protection?
  • Is the equipment or processes that generate significant amounts of noise?
  • Do you have signs posted in areas where hearing protection is required?

What action can you do to prepare for emergencies in the workplace

  1. Identify areas that generate significant amount of noise or even pressure.
  2. Conduct noise level monitoring in these areas.
  3. Consider appropriate engineering controls in the areas that are found to be above action levels.  These may include:
    1. Use low-noise tools and machinery.
    2. Lubricate and maintain machinery.
    3. Install a sound wall or sound curtain.
    4. Enclose the noise source.
  4. Consider administrative controls such as:
    1. Operating certain machinery in off-hours with less personnel present.
    2. Limiting time exposed to certain areas.
    3. Provide quiet zones.
    4. Restrict proximity to certain equipment.
  5. Download the Toolbox Talk
     

     

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