Many Oklahoma employees work in noisy environments. Unfortunately, sustained exposure to loud workplace noise can lead to permanent hearing loss.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that approximately 22 million American workers are exposed to hazardous levels of noise each year. As a result, the agency fined employers $1.5 million in 2017 for failing to protect their employees from damaging noise. Meanwhile, insurers paid out around $242 million for hearing loss-related workers' compensation claims last year.
OSHA regulations stipulate that employees can be exposed to a maximum of 90 A-weighted decibels, or dBA, during an eight-hour shift. Employers are required to measure workplace noise, and they must create a Hearing Conservation Program for employees if workplace noise levels meet or exceed 85-dBA. Under this program, employers must provide hearing protection, safety training and free annual hearing exams for employees. For optimum safety, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that workplace noise levels be kept below 85-dBA to prevent occupational hearing loss in employees.
Inadequate workplace safety policies cause thousands of serious injuries and deaths across the U.S. each year. Workers who suffer on-the-job injuries, including hearing loss, could learn about their legal options by contacting an attorney who could evaluate the case and determine the proper legal action to take. Most injured workers are eligible to file for workers' compensation benefits, which pay medical expenses and provide wage replacement payments while they recover at home. If a worker has observed safety violations, an attorney could also advise how to report them to the appropriate regulating agencies.
Source: EHS Today, "OSHA Limits on Workplace Noise Feed Complaints", David Sparkman, May 17, 2018