Noisy work environments
Noise is the most common physical hazard in the workplace. However, this hazard seems to be underestimated by many people, even though noise-induced hearing loss has been at the top of the list of occupational diseases for years. Prolonged exposure to sound levels above 85dB poses significant risks to our health. But loudness is not the only factor. Prolonged noise at lower levels (55-75 dB) can be stress-inducing and, above all, make daily work more difficult.
Eighty million workers* (30% of the total workforce) complain of increased noise for at least a quarter of their working time. An objective picture of noise pollution can be obtained from the Central Statistical Office. Agriculture, transport, construction and manufacturing are the most noise-prone sectors of the European economy. But not only...
- Bartending is one of the most hazardous occupations for hearing. The din of conversation in a bar is often in excess of 110 dB. Add to that loud music...
- Aircraft maintenance workers on the tarmac don't have it easy either. The 140 dB that airplane engines emit within minutes can irreparably damage hearing.
- Ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars raise the equivalent sound level around the driver's head by about 25 dB when the emergency signals are activated.
- The use of loud tools such as jackhammers, drills and slicers by construction and carpentry workers requires specialized hearing protection.
- Industrial workers in factories are exposed to hearing loss primarily through specialized machinery and even production lines.
- Soldiers are another occupational group worth mentioning. It's not just the bang given off when shooting that can harm them. Driving tracked vehicles or helicopters is definitely a noisy work environment.
- Let's not forget about musicians. Studies show that they are more than four times more likely to suffer hearing damage than the general population.
Rehabilitating a person with hearing loss is far more expensive than preventing it, and yet hearing cells never regenerate! We need far more effective preventive measures. The best protection is protective equipment tailored to the noise level of a harmful work environment.
Take care of your hearing.
Use specialized earmuffs or earplugs.
*Source: ZAGROŻENIA HAŁASEM NA STANOWISKACH PRACY W POLSCE I INNYCH PAŃSTWACH UNII EUROPEJSKIEJ Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Warszawa, Poland Zakład Zagrożeń Wibroakustycznych - Danuta Augustyńska, Dariusz Pleban, Jan Radosz