Workers who are exposed to high levels of noise while on the job may be at risk of developing hearing loss and other occupational hazard injuries. Not only are these workers at a higher risk of hearing loss injuries, but a new Canadian study from the Institut National de Santé Publique shows that workers with noise-induced hearing loss may also be at a higher risk of other injuries in the workplace.
According to Safety and Health Magazine, the study looked at 46,550 men who had frequently been exposed to occupational noise levels of 80 dBA or higher and found that, among the participants, 3.6 percent had at least one work-related injury requiring hospitalization within five years of an occupational hearing test. Moreover, each decibel of hearing loss found in the hearing test was linked with a statistically significant increase in injury risk.
Workers who were regularly exposed to ambient noise levels of 100 dBA or higher – equivalent to the noise volume when standing next to a lawn mower – had more than double the risk of being hospitalized for a workplace injury. For those workers with a combination of severe hearing loss and working in an environment where noise exposure is overly intense, the risk of being hospitalized with a work-related injury is 3.6 times that of workers with neither factor.
The increased injury risk may occur because a worker who can’t hear properly – either due to hearing loss or due to hearing protection – may miss important communications or signals while on the job. Accordingly, work-related injuries in certain jobs might be prevented through the use of special safety signals that don’t rely on hearing.
“Noise induced hearing loss is a public health issue – in the USA, up to 30 million workers are exposed to noise and in Quebec this number is estimated to be 400,000,” Serge-Andre Girard, the study’s leader, told Reuters Health.
According to Reuters Health, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has suggested that companies undergo prevention programs for all workplaces with hazardous levels of noise, including noise assessments, noise control, monitoring of workers’ hearing, appropriate use of hearing protectors, and worker education about protecting themselves from noise.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers who suffer hearing loss or other work-related injury are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The Chicago work injury attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC focus on helping injured workers collect full and fair compensation from all available sources, including workers’ compensation benefits and any third-party personal injury damages that may be applicable. We will advise you of your legal rights and help you pursue any possible legal claims. If you have suffered work-related hearing loss or were injured while on the job, do not hesitate to contact our Chicago workplace injury lawyers at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation.