While heavy tools create a variety of physical risks for contractors, manufacturers and auto repair workers, one of the threats is harder to detect: hearing loss.

Though it may not seem serious, hearing loss is one of the most common workplace illnesses in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates approximately 22 million American workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels at their job each year, and account for about 14% of reported occupational illnesses each year.

Exposure to high-volume environments comes at a price. Hearing loss jeopardizes communication and alertness in the workplace and can plague workers the rest of their lives. And the price tag? Approximately $242 million paid out in workers disability annually.

Minimize the Risk of Hearing Loss

Follow these steps and you’ll minimize the risk of hearing loss.

  • Reduce the Noise. Whenever possible, opt for low-volume tools and machinery. Keep instruments well-maintained and properly lubricated to cut down on grinding and rattling from loose parts. Consider installing vibration mounts or sound-absorbing material to dampen the noise.
  • Isolate the Source. Enclose or all off deafening machines, whether by putting up a sound curtain or allowing remote operations from a neighboring area. Keep loud machinery away from common areas and restrict access to particularly damaging sound sources.
  • Protect Your Workers. For those constantly exposed to loud volumes, provide hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs. Protective equipment should fit snugly and comfortably. Limit the time workers can spend operating loud equipment for controlled exposure. Operate noisy equipment when fewer workers are around so fewer people are affected.

Whether you operate a contracting, manufacturing or auto repair business, you can keep your company and workers safe with detail-driven policies from Society. Get the details you need by getting in touch with your local Society agent.