A look at noise-induced hearing loss and how to avoid it.
As industrial mezzanine flooring suppliers, Krost is well acquainted with the industrial sector and its various hazards. We know that because machinery and heavy loads are the most obvious hazards in the workplace, other health risks such as noise-related hearing damage can be overlooked.
We make our industrial mezzanine flooring sturdy, understanding the heavy loads associated with warehousing. But with all the efforts – mechanical and otherwise – that are necessary to move heavy products around warehouses, there is an obvious by-product in the form of a great deal of noise generation. This can lead to irrevocable damage in a relatively short time, but also has an impact on various other social factors.
What is the real cost of noisy working environments?
Hearing ailments caused by noisy workplaces have a ripple effect, and can be responsible for further issues; namely:
- Alienation: The difficulty of having to adapt to society without the use of one’s hearing could result in the sufferer becoming socially isolated.
- Reduced communication: A worker who loses his or her sense of hearing altogether will have to learn to communicate through sign language, or other sight-based methods. This could result in a very difficult transitional period.
- Further risk of injury in the workplace: Ironically, many of the workplace sounds which can cause hearing loss exist to protect workers from harm. An inability to hear these warning sounds may result in further harm to the hearing-impaired worker.
- Psychological issues: The above effects of hearing loss could be responsible for bringing about issues such as depression, anxiety, and frustration.
- Decreased efficiency: Workers who cannot communicate in the workplace could be responsible for a decrease in productivity.
For these reasons, as well as the medical liabilities experienced by a company as a result of worker injury, it is in a warehouse owner’s best interest to protect the hearing of his or her employees.
How to decrease noise in the workplace
Of course, the best means for reducing noise is to completely remove the harmful source of the noise by removing the equipment or processes responsible for it. However, this is not always an option. Warehouse owners can employ the following methods in order to reduce noise in the workplace:
- Upgrade or exchange noisy machinery for machines which produce less noise.
- Try to restructure certain processes in order to make them quieter.
- Move the source of noise to remote areas or separate them from workers using sound-proof barriers and surfaces.
- Use protection against sound, such as noise cancelling headsets or earplugs.
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Image credit: http://www.activeohs.com.au/workplace-services/noise-surveys-assessing-exposure-in-the-workplace