Some work environments are quiet, others are exceptionally noisy. If your business is based in the construction or mining sector, for example, noise levels are likely to be so high that they can affect your employees' hearing. That's why the National Institute for Occupational Health was shocked to find that eight local steel companies exceed the 85 decibel limit by up to 100%. Here's what to do to make sure you're protecting your employees' hearing if you operate in a noisy environment...
Last year, the Department of Labour commented that immediate intervention was needed in the iron and steel industry, after compensation totalling R194 million in that sector was paid for the 2011/2012 financial year, says Fin24
Now, results from National Institute for Occupational Health's findings are in.
The good news?
In a recent survey of local eight steel companies, all of them were found to designate 'noise zones' with appropriate signage.
The bad news?
Up to 40% employees interviewed couldn't remember when last they were trained on noise levels and preventing hearing loss.
A staggering 62% didn't even know how to fit their hearing protectors properly, says Fin24
But it's not just these 'high noise' industries that need to take note.
How can you tell if your business is so noisy that it's likely to affect your employees' hearing?
If you need to raise your voice to a near shout to speak over the noise, it's probably louder than the required 85 decibel occupational noise regulations, explains the Health and Safety Advisor.
Have you trained your employees on using their PPE ear plugs effectively?
If so, you'll need to make sure you've provided your employees with ear plugs as part of their PPE, and that you've clearly demarcated 'high noise' areas, so they know when to insert their ear plugs.
That's why you need to ensure that employees who work on or near the generator have been given ear plugs to protect their hearing.
And you'll need to check these regularly to ensure they comply with health and safety regulations and that your employees know how to store and insert them safely and hygienically, says FSP Business
It's the easiest way to protect yourself from compensation claims for hearing loss.
In the Health and Safety Advisor
, we give you more information on the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations (NIHL) regulations. Click here if you're not a subscriber.