Warning signs that your workplace may be too noisy?
Noise may be a problem in your workplace if:
◾You hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work.
◾You have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm’s length away.
◾You experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.
OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker’s time weighted average over an 8 hour day. Worker exposures to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss amount of exposure time. NIOSH recommends less than 15 minutes of exposure per day.
Reduce or eliminate the worker exposure to noise:
◾Operating noisy machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed.
◾Limiting the amount of time a person spends at a noise source.
◾Providing quiet areas where workers can gain relief from hazardous noise sources (e.g., construct a sound proof room where workers’ hearing can recover – depending upon their individual noise level and duration of exposure, and time spent in the quiet area).
◾Restricting worker presence to a suitable distance away from noisy equipment.
Hearing protection devices (HPDs), such as earmuffs and plugs, are considered an acceptable. Each of these elements is critical to ensure that workers are being protected where noise levels are unable to be reduced below the OSHA required levels.