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Mark Stephenson, Ph.D. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. DEVELOPING A HEARING LOSS PREVENTION PROGRAM FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS. NIOSH HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS. Remove the hazard Remove the worker Protect the worker. OVERVIEW. REVIEW OF THE PROBLEM

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Mark Stephenson, Ph.D.

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Mark Stephenson, Ph.D.

National Institute

for Occupational Safety

and Health

DEVELOPING A HEARING LOSS

PREVENTION PROGRAM FOR

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS


NIOSH HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS

Remove the hazard

Remove the worker

Protect the worker


OVERVIEW

  • REVIEW OF THE PROBLEM

  • WHAT WE’VE LEARNED SO FAR

  • WHERE WE’RE GOING


THE PROBLEM:

  • The construction industry DOES have a standard:

  • 29 CFR 1926.52… “Workers exposed to TWAs >90 dBA

  • must be provided protection.”

  • BUT

  • Many of the requirements in the manufacturing

  • industry standard (29 CFR 1910.95) do not apply:

  • Periodic noise monitoring

  • Dosimetry

  • Periodic audiometric testing

  • Regular worker education


So what…

People lose their hearing

anyway as they age.


Even by age 60, the average healthy person does not have impaired hearing!!


Hearing Levels in 60 Year Old Males as

a Function of Noise Exposure


Even where the OSHA HCA

is being applied, workers are still

losing their hearing!

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What Have We Learned So Far?

  • Noise Levels

  • Hearing Levels

  • Cost

  • Health Communications


The Average 25 Year Old Carpenter

Has 50 Year Old Ears!


$1,000,000,000

It Would Cost One Billion Dollars to Provide

Hearing Aids to Every UBC Member

Who Needed Them (batteries not included)!


Cost: What kind of money are we talking about?

Don’t

talk to me about

decibels, tell me about

MONEY !

Cost of hearing aids

Vs.

Cost of an HCP

What about workers’ compensation?


Health Communication Theory = Marketing


Health Communications:

Once a noise hazard is identified, why don’t we just pass out ear muffs or set out boxes of ear plugs?


Without proper training, any hearing

protector that can be worn wrong,

will be worn wrong!


People have MANY reasons for not using hearing protectors. (AKA: You can lead a person to hearing protectors, but you can’t get him/her to wear them.)

  • Comfort

  • Convenience

  • Cost

  • Communications / hear

  • importantsounds

THERE ARE OVER 200 DIFFERENT HEARING PROTECTORS. EVERYONE CAN FIND A PROTECTOR THAT MEETS THEIR NEEDS.

THE BEST HEARING PROTECTOR IS THE ONE THAT’S WORN!


Effect of not wearing your hearing protector

on the amount of effective noise reduction


Education and Training Must NOT Just

Fill a Square

Blah, blah, blah…

Blah, blah, blah...


How do you know what the workers’ concerns and beliefs are?

Just ask me.

I’ll tell you

what I need.

Barriers cited by coal miners

for not wearing HPDs:

Comfort Poke Out Eardrum

Communication Cords Get Caught

Convenience Earcup Too Big

Roof “Talk” Warning Sounds


Percent of Workers Who Wore Hearing

Protectors


INFLUENCING HEARING PROTECTOR

USE AMONG WORKERS

Health communication theory has proven education

and training must address two concepts:

Remove Barriers

Develop Self-Efficacy


Conduct Focus

Groups

Measure

SPLs & HTLs

Administer

Survey

Analyze Data

Analyze Audio-

metric Data

Modify Training

Develop Training

Analyze Data

Observe

Behaviors

Re-administer

Survey

How Do You Remove Barriers & Develop Workers’

Self-Efficacy?

Removing Barriers and

Developing Self-Efficacy

is an Iterative Process


This is your ear.

This is your ear on noise.

Any questions?

NIOSH Toll-Free Number: (800) 35-NIOSH

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/homepage.html

Mark R. Stephenson Carol Merry-Stephenson

(513) 533-8144 (513) 533-8581

[email protected] [email protected]


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