Alva Group Occupational Health and Safety Services

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Damage to inner ear structures and/or nerve fibres that respond to sound is known as noise-induced hearing loss. It is typically brought on by exposure to very loud noises and cannot be treated with medicine or surgery.

As is likely to be vehicles, demolition activity, and large numbers of workers gathered and conversing among themselves, it is inevitable that construction sites. factories and mines will be noisy environments and workers will be subjected to heightened noise levels. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, o employee or person shall be exposed to at or above 85dBA noise rating. To put this noise rating into perspective, the average dBA noise level of a concrete saw or electric grinder is 98 and a jackhammer is 102.

What is a “Noise Zone”?

A noise zone is any area where an employee or person is exposed to noise at or above the noise rating, which can be harmful over a period of time. It is advised that a noise zone be clearly marked, and that hearing protection be worn there. The explanation for why it is a noise zone should be noted on the signage as well.

Duties of Individuals Who May Be Exposed to Noise

Any individual or worker who may be subjected to loud noise levels is required to utilise noise control measures and to report any malfunctioning, damaged, or lost noise equipment right away. If personal hearing protection is required, nobody should go there or stay there unless they have permission to. All workers who will be subjected to loud noises must receive the information and instruction outlined in the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulation 4.

Hearing Protective Equipment

Earmuffs, disposable or custom-made earplugs, ear canal covers, and semi-insets are typical examples of hearing protective equipment. The specifications for hearing protection devices should be able to limit noise exposure to less than 85dBA. Employees must choose the equipment carefully, use it as intended, maintain it in good working order, and get all relevant information, training, guidance, and supervision regarding its use.

Control of Noise Exposure

Noise control measures must be taken where possible such as engineering control measures or administrative control measures. Engineering measures include the elimination or reduction of noise at its source. Administrative procedures are used to reduce employee noise exposure time and the number of people exposed to loud noise. The use of hearing protection equipment is necessary if engineering and administrative control methods are unable to decrease the exposure to noise.

A Friendly Reminder

As previously mentioned, there is no treatment for irreversible hearing loss or damage. Avoiding noise exposure that can cause the inner ear further harm is one “therapy” to take into consideration; this could stop hearing loss from getting worse.

The contractor must ensure that each of his or her personnel has a current occupational health practitioner-issued Annexure 3 medical certificate of fitness that is specific to the construction activity to be conducted.

This is necessary to prevent any problems from occurring on the job site. As a result, if an individual fails the audiogram test and has experienced noise damage, they will not be allowed to work on the project because it presents a risk. For instance, there is a chance that a worker might not move out of the way and suffer an injury if they don’t hear a construction vehicle reverse.

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