Not all sounds are noise: noise is a sound that bothers people and can affect their capacity to work by causing tension and disturbing concentration. Noise can cause accidents by making communication and alarm signals difficult to distinguish. Furthermore, noise can provoke chronic health problems and eventual hearing loss.
In the United States alone, nearly 20 million people work in conditions with hazardous noise. All companies are required by law to protect employees’ health from any kind of risks or accidents, including the health problems caused by noise.
Hearing loss due to workplace noise exposure is one of the most common workplace illnesses. In certain fields of work, such as construction, mass production, or assembly, workers tend to be exposed to high levels of noise. Brief exposure to excessive noise can cause temporal hearing loss which lasts from a few seconds to a few days. Exposure to noise for longer periods of time can lead to permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss that is produced over the long term is not easily detected and, unfortunately, most workers do not realize they are becoming deaf until their sense of hearing has been permanently damaged.
Besides hearing loss, noise exposure in the workplace can provoke additional problems:
Physiological effects – Accelerated heart and breathing rate, digestive problems, diminished brain activity, etc.
Psychological effects – Insomnia, aggressive and irritable mood alteration, difficulty concentrating, stress, diminished performance, and socialization problems.
Some possible measures to prevent and reduce the effects of a noisy workplace:
- Use work equipment that generates low levels of noise
- Limit exposure time for noisy equipment, as well the number of workers exposed
- Use appropriate design and distribution of work equipment
- Place the noisiest equipment in separate spaces
- Require the use of personal protection equipment, ear muffs, and ear plugs when necessary
- Perform risk evaluations and measure noise levels
- Use control and revision programs and preventive measures for risks
If you have hearing problems or believe you have begun to lose your hearing due to working in a noisy workplace, even if you no longer work there, it is important to act now. Call Grupo MedLegal, where you will find immediate assistance from a group of specialized lawyers in this type of case, as well as medical treatment for your hearing trouble.
This Blog is made available by Grupo MedLegal for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or medical advice. The information provided on the Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal or medical advice from a licensed professional.