While it’s impossible to make a factory blasting at full output TV studio quiet, steps can be taken to reduce noise as much as possible – which translates into high productivity and fewer worker’s comp claims for hearing loss. – By Isaac Rudik at Compliance Solutions Canada – A Nimonik Affiliate
In a world where workplace and outside noise can seem like an unyielding din, it is easy to take hearing for granted. Moreover, symptoms of hearing loss can be overlooked since they appear gradually and are seldom associated with pain. As a result, increasing deafness remains unnoticed often for years until it’s too late.
In fact, among all occupational hazards, noise is the biggest cause of permanent disability claims settled by Ontario’s Worker’s Compensation Board. According to WSIB, hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels resulted in roughly $100-million in claims paid out over a recent 10 year period.
As a result, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour introduced strict limits for workplace noise exposure. Among other things, the government reduced the allowable exposure time to noise by workers in half. The Environment Ministry deals with preventing excessive noise in Ontario, and sounds produced by human activity is controlled by the laws in the Ontario Environmental Protection Act (EPA), which holds that noise is a contaminant with adverse effects on workers.
Why? Because researchers proved that an individual exposed to 85dba for eight hours a day, week after week, will suffer hearing loss. The louder the sound, the less time it takes. Thus, the noisier the workplace, the fewer exposures and time it takes to produce significant – and, for employers, costly – hearing loss.