According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) an average of 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to dangerous levels of noise in the workplace. Considering that approximately $242 million is spent each year on workers’ compensation for disability due to hearing loss, it is imperative that companies take a proactive approach to preventing hearing problems. Ongoing exposure to noise levels that exceed 85 dB is able to cause substantial hearing damage. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends that workers are not exposed to noise levels that exceed 85 dB for extended periods of time.

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Every year, people around the world invest time in creating a list of New Year’s resolutions they hope to keep. In fact, about half of adults in the United States make them, according to IFLScience.com. The troubling thing is that only about 10% end up keeping them longer than a few months.

By this time, you’ve probably read quite a few of these lists stating the top resolutions to reach goals in your personal life, but what about at the workplace?  In our line of work, it’s critical that we’re constantly vigilant for new opportunities to protect employees’ hearing safety, and the New Year is a great time to look at common resolutions and use those for inspiration when developing our plans for the coming year.

 

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According to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) about 30 million people are exposed to noise a year on the job, and it’s been one of the biggest concerns in the US for nearly 3 decades. In fact, there are quite a few high-noise environments where workers are exposed to harmful levels of noise.

While we’re typically used to thinking of mining, power plants and heavy vehicles as key environments, there are other jobs that can damage hearing as well. For example, if you operate a lawn mower, work at a night club, work at an airport on the ground or even as a shooting range marshal, you’re exposing your ears to 107dB of noise—to as high as 140dB.

Since hearing loss occurs at around 85dB, occupational hearing loss is proven to be the responsibility of the employer, it’s important to understand how it happens, the impact it has on workers—and your bottom line, and what you can do about it.

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Working in a modern datacenter is a critical role within many organizations. Internal and external customer demands, coupled with the varied demands of the job (not just IT), and physical and mental pressures combine to create a potentially stressful environment. In fact, according to a 2014 IT Admin Stress Survey conducted by Opinion Matters, “79 percent of IT staff are actively considering leaving their current role due to job-related stress.”

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Buying a safety communications headset for your team may be one of the most important decisions you make in regards to their safety. In smoky, hard to see environments with fire raging all around, communications between your crew in the building and those on the ground is key, and having a communications headset that gives your companies full situational awareness is the most critical factor. But what are other important factors in selecting a safety communications headset for your team? And how do you rank the other features, benefits and requirements—and in what order of importance to your fire department?

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Hearing protection in offshore oil and gas is truly a global issue

According to hear-it.org, a European organization geared towards collecting, processing and sharing information and data as it relates to hearing issues, one in every four work-related injuries in offshore technological environments are hearing loss-related. It was ranked as the worst job here in the US a few years back, according to a report by CNN Money. Given this, Safety Managers and Industrial Hygienists work to protect workers’ hearing (along with everything else), by conducting a worksite analysis, developing hearing safety programs and leveraging hearing protection devices to guard against hearing loss and other threats.

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It’s no secret that operators of heavy vehicles and machinery face unique challenges.

These may include:

  • Working in extreme weather conditions
  • Exposure to fumes and chemicals
  • Loud environmental noise

A panel at the Heavy Vehicle Safety Summit that took place in April of this year noted that a combination of training and technology are key to addressing the human aspect of these challenges. In a recent blog post, we talk about how to get your workers to adhere to your safety guidelines. But what about technology?

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According to OSHA, for more than 25 years, hazardous noise-related hearing loss has been one of the cant_hear-earhighest rated concerns in the US. About 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises at work or in leisure activities. Add to that the fact that NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) state that:

  • 4 million workers go to work each day in damaging noise
  • Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss
  • Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.

…and you see that noise-related hearing loss is a major concern for safety managers. Since permanent hearing loss is—by definition—irreversible, It’s important to recognize the signs of hearing loss in your high-noise environment.

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Let’s face it. Most safety headsets aren’t exactly treated gently. They get tossed around. They’re used 8, 10, 12 hours a day—or more. They get dirty, dusty and grimy. In some cases they might even be subject to extreme temperatures. They really take a beating, so it’s no wonder that they need to be replaced every so often.

So, How Can I Extend the Life of My Hearing Protection Device?

You don’t want to replace your safety headset too frequently, so a small amount of maintenance can go a long way. That being said, different scenarios require different types and levels of upkeep, but there are some general best practices for keep your safety headset in good condition.

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Over the years, many things have changed in industrial plant environments, resulting in changes in process,technology and communications. In a recent, 2015 manufacturing study/white paper conducted by Motorola, a number of specific—and interesting—statistics came out that pointed to this.

  • 32% of manufacturers currently rely on two-way radios as their primary method of plant communications;
  • 28% primarily use cell phones,
  • and 15% actually use internet/email;

Do you find it surprising that 1/3 of manufacturers are using two-way radios, while almost half of them are using cell phones and internet/email as their primary mode of communication. We really aren’t. Our engineering team has been hearing the demand for Bluetooth for sometime. But why? 

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  Download Sensear's 7 Degrees of Hearing Loss Infographic