hear today hear tomorrow hearing loss prevention for supervisors n.
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Hear Today… Hear Tomorrow: Hearing Loss Prevention for Supervisors. Kelly Kasper BuildItSmart. Does anyone here have a hearing loss or know someone who does?. What you will learn today:. The Washington State Hearing Conservation Standard Requirements How to recognize loud noise levels

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Presentation Transcript
what you will learn today
What you will learn today:
  • The Washington State Hearing Conservation Standard Requirements
  • How to recognize loud noise levels
  • How to reduce noise levels through engineering and administrative controls
  • The effects of noise on hearing and productivity
  • Hearing Protector Selection and Fitting
hearing loss prevention plan
Hearing Loss Prevention Plan!
  • Washington State requires a hearing conservation plan (WAC 296-62-Part K)

-Noise Level Collection



-HPD Selection, Fit and Use

-Record keeping

noise at work
Noise at work
  • 30 million workers are exposed to harmful levels
  • 2nd most reported occupational illness
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible – but 100% preventable
noise sources
Noise Sources
  • Noise a worker creates
  • Noise created from the worker’s trade
  • Noise from other trades
plan for the noise
Plan for the noise
  • Wrong Expectations
  • Poor Planning
  • Lack of coordination
how to prevent noise
How to Prevent Noise
  • Find quieter ways
  • Move equipment away from the work zone when possible
  • Shield loud power equipment in the work zone
  • Buy Quiet
  • Turn off equipment when not in use

Block it…Move it….Reduce it…

find quieter ways
Find Quieter Ways


  • Maybe you can use a hydraulic cutter or Porta-band in place of an abrasive saw, especially when cutting metal
  • Or, instead of punching holes in decking or sheet metal, use a drill.
  • Consider alternative types of fasteners to powder actuated tools
move noisy equipment
Move Noisy Equipment
  • An air compressor does not have to be within arms length. It can be placed hundreds of feet away. All it takes is one extra length of air hose.
shield loud equipment
Shield Loud Equipment


  • Scrap plywood and duct tape can make an effective shield to reduce noise around a power pack. Make sure it does not become a fire hazard.
  • Build a temporary wall between the concrete pumper and the work zone.
buy quiet
Buy Quiet


  • When it is time to buy new equipment or tools, ask the employer to think about what is least noisy. Develop a noise limit policy.
  • Find ways to retrofit existing equipment to make it less noisy, such as installing mufflers.
  • Maintain equipment
turn it off
Turn it Off
  • Turn off power equipment when it is not in use
reducing noise from other trades
Reducing Noise from Other Trades
  • Job site meetings (Risk Chart & Weekly Action Plan Sheets)
  • Know the noisy tasks
  • Schedule noisy tasks for off hours
  • Ask the employer to check noise levels of different tasks
it is too loud when
It is too Loud When
  • 2-3 foot rule
hearing protection types demonstration of fitting
Hearing Protection Types: Demonstration of Fitting
  • Foam plugs
  • Pre-molded plugs
  • Custom molded plugs
  • Banded or semi-aural
  • Earmuffs
real world reduction
Real World Reduction
  • Earmuffs Subtract 25% from the manufacturer's labeled NRR
  • Formable earplugs Subtract 50% from the manufacturer's labeled NRR
  • All other earplugs Subtract 70% from the manufacturers labeled NRR
hearing protection selection
Hearing Protection Selection
  • Convenience
  • Comfort
  • Communication needs
  • Hygiene
  • Noise Reduction
  • Hearing ability
  • Noise Level
care and maintenance
Care and Maintenance
  • Foam plugs: Use them when they look like they are new, or get new ones
  • Earmuffs: Wipe down with a damp cloth, or remove the cushions and wash in soapy water. Cushions should be replaced if torn or cracked. Replace entire muff if headband is sprung.
  • Custom: Replace every 3-5 years. Wash in mild soapy water.
  • Pre-molded: Replace the earbuds if they are dirty or damaged.
problems in getting hearing conservation into construction
Mobile work force

Companies mandate hard hats & safety glasses, not as consistent about ear plugs & muffs

The ears do not bleed, can not see the injury

Problems in getting hearing conservation into construction
  • —Lusk et al., University of Michigan; Melamed et al,
  • Israeli study; NIOSH
reasons workers do not use hearing protectors
Reasons workers do not use hearing protectors:
  • Fear of not hearing warning signals & voices (especially if hearing protection is more than needed)
  • Uncomfortable to wear all day
  • Benefit not readily apparent (hearing loss is gradual)
  • More immediate hazards on job site
noise induced hearing loss
  • Caused by exposure to harmful noise levels
  • Damages hair cells in your inner ear
  • Temporary vs. Permanent
  • Permanent damage is irreversible
  • Poor hearing is a major handicap
  • Prevention is key
effects of noise
Effects of Noise
  • Noise affects almost all types of work
  • Workplace noise effects ALL construction workers
  • Up to 50% of construction workers may have some job-related hearing loss
  • Once hearing is gone it is lost forever
  • Disrupts your daily life
other effects of noise
Other Effects of Noise
  • Tinnitus – Ringing in the ears
  • Non-Auditory problems

- Constant State of Alert

- Disturbed Sleeping Pattern

- Increased blood pressure

hearing conservation in washington state
Hearing Conservation in Washington State
  • WISHA requires that employers provide a hearing conservation program to employees if they are exposed to 85 dB or more for an average of 8-hours
  • Transient workforce makes it difficult
  • Build It Smart proposes an industry-wide hearing testing program
hearing testing
Type of Tests




Types of Loss



Hearing Testing
  • Testing Facilities
  • Clinical
  • Mobile Unit
self tests
Self Tests
  • Radio Check same day
  • Radio Check day after
  • Tinnitus can be an early indicator of hearing loss
worker rights
Worker Rights
  • Their Records
  • Compensation if significant hearing loss occurs
  • To an effective Hearing Conservation Program
need another reason
Need another reason

A hearing impaired person had this to say:

“I wish I had my hearing back, because I can’t hear my grandkids. I am missing out on so much! If only I knew then, what I know now!”

for more information
For More Information

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