Noise-induced Hearing Loss
When passing by a construction sites, it is usually loud and busy where everything from digging, excavating, building, wielding, up to installations of large machineries or anything big required in the site are simultaneously happening. These noisy activities on constructions sites are usually caused by employee yelling for communication, trucks, and heavy equipments that are essential in fullfiling big feats in a construction site and lastly, hand-held equipments for micro-productivity such as jackhammers, electric saws, cement cutters, welding machines, sledgehammers, and drills.
Though, vehicles also produce fair share amount of noise inside a work place which makes it more loud and pierces through sound-proof muffs that people inside wear such as dump trucks, cement mixers, and tampering machines. And given that all of these machines operate simultaneously, it is expected that the construction site in general could produce great amount of noise that could affect its workers negatively.
Noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is a permanent hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise, though it can also occur after exposure to loud noise even in a short period of time such as explosion or gunshots. Being around within a vicinity where loud noise would also mean that you have more risk to lose your hearing.
According to a study, 23,000 cases of occupational hearing loss were reported in 2007. While this is true, it is also worrying that more than 22 million workers are exposed to loud noises which could result in hearing loss in yearly scale. In addition, a study that has started from 1996 up to 2010, 58% workers experienced minor and mild hearing loss said due to noise while 80% of welders have suffered from hearing loss and 47% of roofers have also experienced the same case of NIHL.
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Construction site work hours are usually 8 hours shift, depending if it is operation 24 hours or only day hours, forcing a worker to be exposed to noise within his/her working hours and noise isn't something that can be easily suppressed so people are facing such risks even if precautions are taken. The amount of noise needed to damage one's hearing is 85dBA and the louder the equipment you were using or the closer you are in the source of noise, the quicker the hearing loss. In here below is amount of noise that common hand-held equipments used in most workplace produces:
As you can see, they exceed from the noise tolerance of our hearing which is 85 dBA and this could pose a significant risk to our construction workers around the world. And the worse part is that they use these for more than an hour.
As the health condition being questioned in this case was immediately addressed to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), they have suggested and established some countermeasures and firm restrictions regarding on employees' safety against the risk of loud noises and its latter effects. Some of them are:
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