The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced July 31, 2013, a new outreach and enforcement regional emphasis program targeting high noise level hazards in various manufacturing industries in New England. The program will focus on workplaces engaged in the manufacturing and fabrication of metal, plastic, stone and wood products, as well as meat, dairy and bakery production.
The program will identify and inspect workplaces with high noise levels and provide outreach to employers, according to the announcement. OSHA will conduct the outreach and targeted enforcement phases of the program concurrently to raise awareness among employers and employees about the hazards associated with exposure to high levels of noise activities.
“Hearing loss is a serious matter. Exposure to high noise levels can cause permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected through surgery,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s regional administrator for New England. “To prevent that from happening to workers, we are encouraging employers to explore and pursue better safeguards for their employees against everyday workplace noise hazards.”
Approximately 22 million workers nationwide are exposed to potentially damaging noise yearly, and thousands of workers annually suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels, according to OSHA. In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 20,000 cases of work-related hearing loss. Information about noise hazards can be found here.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.
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