A successful hearing loss prevention program benefits both the company and the affected employee. Employees are spared disabling hearing impairments and evidence suggests that they may experience less fatigue and generally better health. Ultimately, the company benefits from reduced medical expenses and worker compensation costs. In some cases there may be improved morale and work efficiency.
The eight components of a successful hearing loss prevention program include:
Hearing Loss Prevention Program Audit: Ideally, a carefully conducted audit should be performed before any program to prevent hearing loss is put into place, or before any changes in an existing program are made
Noise Exposure Monitoring: An employer is responsible for identifying employees who are exposed to noise.
Engineering and Administrative Controls: The use of engineering controls should reduce ototraumatic exposure to the point where the hearing hazard is significantly reduced or eliminated. .
Audiometric Evaluation: Audiometric evaluation is crucial to the success of the hearing loss prevention program, since it is the only way to determine whether occupational hearing loss is being prevented. Management must allocate sufficient time and resources to the audiometric program to allow accurate testing, otherwise, the resulting audiograms will be useless.
Use of hearing protection devices: When employees are exposed to sound levels at or exceeding the action level (85 dBA TWA) hearing protection devices (HPD) must be provided.
Education and Motivation: Clearly visible warning signs should be posted at the entrance of areas where noise exposures equal or exceed 85 dBA TWA. Annual training must be provided for all workers who are exposed to noise at or above 85 dBA TWA
Record Keeping: Hearing loss prevention program records should include documentation of all items for each element of the program. Noise exposure records shall be maintained for at least two years and audiometric test records shall be maintained for at least the duration of employment.
Program Evaluation: Hearing loss prevention programs require periodic evaluation to assure their effectiveness.
It can seem a daunting and overwhelming task to ensure that your program is effective – let Arbill’s qualified EH&S professionals help. Contact your Arbill representative to discuss your options or visit arbill.com. Please feel free to forward these blogs to your colleagues and friends so that we can get closer to our goal of ensuring that your business operates at its fullest and safest potential while sending every single worker home safe every day. Our safety blog is published 3 times each week – come back often or subscribe here.