Construction workers face some of the most hazardous conditions on the job. Loud noise is one of the lesser-known hazards on construction sites. However, we believe that it is extremely important to discuss so that workers, employers, and site managers can take the right steps to prevent hearing damage.
What Causes Hearing Loss on Construction Sites?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about 51% of construction workers are or have been exposed to hazardous noise, but its effects are not immediately felt or reported.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) sets a boundary of 85 dBA as the recommended occupational exposure limit. The average construction site in the U.S. has a noise level between 80 and 90 decibels (dBA), so noise levels may not be immediately painful but lead to long-term hearing loss due to prolonged exposure.
Some of the specific working conditions that can lead to hearing loss for construction workers include:
- Dump trucks
- Electrical saws
- Power tool malfunctions
How Can Hearing Damage Be Prevented?
With this in mind, here is how to know whether a construction site is too loud and steps that should always be taken to protect the hearing of construction workers:
- Plan Ahead. Employers should hold regular meetings to discuss ways to limit noise levels and other hazards.
- Limit Exposure. Post signs where there are loud noises and use the quietest equipment that is available.
- Always Use Hearing Protective Devices. We cannot stress enough the importance of always wearing hearing protection, which may include earplugs or earmuffs.
- Establish a Safe Distance. Keep as much distance as possible between the noisy equipment and workers.
The good news is that employees who either suffered from hearing damage, including partial or total hearing loss, may be eligible to pursue workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs of medical treatment and any loss in pay that resulted from potentially no longer being able to safely perform their current job.
If you’re ready to discuss your hearing loss claim with our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys, contact The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford at (770) 629-9321 today!