The environment inside a manufacturing facility consists of different risks including the loud sound that is produced by heavy equipment and machinery. That is why safety ear muffs and foam earplugs are issued to each worker to eliminate excessive exposure to this harmful noise.
Prolonged exposure to loud, aggravating, and excessive sounds can have harmful effects on worker health. However, symptoms are not always immediate or evident because noise-induced hearing loss typically happens gradually. In this post, we will discuss the different pointers to properly manage hearing conservation programs in a facility, but first, let us define the meaning of its use.
Hearing Conservation Program
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) designed a program to protect workers with significant occupational noise exposures from hearing impairment even if they are subject to such noise exposures over their entire working lifetimes. OSHA issued a booklet which includes different guidelines and definitions of: why is monitoring noise required, what is audiometric testing, what are annual audiograms, and so on.
Hearing conservation is appropriate training for workers to guide them with proper knowledge about the noise risks inside the work site. This particular program gives companies a responsible stand in preventing noise-induced injuries and total loss of hearing.
Here are the benefits that a company can experience when they follow a comprehensive hearing conservation program in their work site:
- Measurement of Noise Exposure – The foundations of a good Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) starts with surveying the level of noise present in your work site. If an employee is exposed to a time-weighted average of about 85 decibels for the duration of eight or more, OSHA requires the use of careful monitoring. The exposure measurement must include all continuous, intermittent, and impulsive noise within an 80 dB to 130 dB range and must be taken during a typical work situation.
- Provides Proper Hearing Protectors – As mentioned earlier, issuing protective hearing equipment to workers before the working hours ensures their safety and eliminates their level of exposure to harmful noise. Hearing protectors enlisted in every hearing conservation program are required to be comfortable, compatible with other personal protection equipment, fit properly, and provide adequate protection for the workers.
- Engineered Control of Powered Equipment – It is only essential for facilities to use administrative control or other powered equipment to reduce extreme noise levels in a facility. Engineered controls for hearing conservation consists of audiometric testing, baseline audiogram, and annual audiograms that compares and detects past and future risks of how severely affected the workers are with the present noise inside the work site.
- Promotes Effective Safety Training – Educating your workers on the different effects of being exposed to loud noise and on the proper use of hearing protection is one of the essential functions of a hearing conservation program. Training must be administered to employees to educate them about the purpose, benefits, and possible disadvantages of the many kinds of hearing protection devices out there.
- Evaluates Workforce Performance – HCP does not only identify the potential risks by comparing present and future readings of the noise level inside the working area but also estimates how capable your workforce still is during operations even when exposed to a certain noise level. The goal of a hearing conservation program is to protect workers from developing hearing loss or problems caused by work-related hazardous noise, so it is essential to plan for regular performance evaluation to check for any manifestation of such related injuries.
To learn more about the benefits of having a hearing conservation program inside your work site, you may contact Progressive Safety Equipment today.