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Noise Exposure

* Hearing Safety #2 *

Noise is energy — if its concentration is "Too Loud for Too Long" the result will be irreversible hearing damage.

    The world around us is noisy — an estimated 22 million Americans already have a serious hearing problem — and it’s a good bet that almost everyone of you already has some degree of occupational related hearing impairment.

    Noise destroys — its loudness, which is the amount of pressure that it exerts on a surface is measured in decibels. A sound of 90 decibels is 10 times stronger than a sound of 80, decibels, thus a sound of 100 decibels is 100 times stronger than a sound of 80 decibels.

    The noise level on many job sites can range anywhere from good to terrible for your protection, OSHA Standard § 1926.52 places allowable limits on noise exposure. When noise levels exceed these limits, steps must be taken to eliminate, reduce, or relocate the noise source. If this is impossible, then appropriate hearing protection must be used.

    The two main damaging factors of sound are loudness and time of exposure. For example, you must not exceed 90 decibels for 8 hours, 100 decibels for 2 hours, or 110 decibels for ½ hour.

    Since most job sites do not monitor noise levels, the decision to use protection will probably be left up to YOU. Most shop tools generate about 90 decibels, a chain saw or jack hammer 100 to 120 decibels, and the noise from a gun blast can exceed 140 decibels.

    You should be using hearing protection if you must shout to be heard above surrounding noise, if your ears are ringing or hearing is muffled by quitting time, or if you feel any pain or discomfort due to noise levels.
 

SAFETY REMINDERS
IN ADDITION TO HEARING LOSS, EXCESSIVE NOISE CAN CAUSE
STRESS, TENSION AND AN ACCELERATED HEART RATE,
INCREASING YOUR ODDS FOR AN ACCIDENT OR HEART ATTACK.

* Be Safe - Ya'hear *

We welcome comments about this article, and your requests for future topics.

    If you have a specific topic you would like to see covered here or that you may need for your company, please send an Email to our Tail Gate Safety Topics editor, Dave Miller at demiller@pacificemployers.com or to peinfo@pacificemployers.com. Thanks!

 

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Copyright © 2001 by David E. Miller

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