Though most workers are aware of the safety hazards associated with operating heavy equipment, not everyone thinks about the effects of construction noise. Hearing impairment on the job site usually occurs gradually, so many workers don't notice that their hearing is being damaged until it is beyond correction, resulting in irreversible noise-induced hearing loss.
Being around loud machines is unavoidable when working on a construction site — however, there are numerous ways you can protect yourself and your employees from hearing loss at work. With the following noise protection tips for workers, you can safeguard your crew's hearing against damage.
When working on a construction site, it's vital that you take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your crew from noise-induced damage. Consider the following hearing protection tips for construction workers to promote better ear safety.
One of the easiest ways to shield your eardrums on the job site is to invest in industrial-grade hearing protection equipment like earmuffs and earplugs that will block out construction noise. It's a good rule of thumb to require your workers to wear these devices at all times on the construction site, even if they aren't operating machinery.
In most cases, you should avoid hearing protection that lodges too far into the ear canal. Though these types of equipment will minimize sound reception, they can also puncture eardrums and create wax and debris buildup in the ear.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that workplace noise levels not exceed an average of 85 decibels over eight working hours to protect the eardrums from damage. You can measure noise on the job site using a sound level meter, which uses a microphone positioned at ear level to evaluate equipment noise. You can label exceedingly loud equipment with a hazardous noise sticker to warn workers of potential risks.
If you don't have access to a sound level meter, you can assess noise levels manually by standing about three feet away from a coworker. If you can't hear your partner or have to raise your voice for them to hear you, your site's sound level is likely above 85 decibels.
As technology continues to advance, more and more equipment is becoming available with quieter operating capabilities. Compact equipment is ideal for limiting construction sound, as it tends to exhibit lower noise levels than larger machines.
For example, Cat® compact construction equipment is known for quiet operation designed to meet strict regulatory standards.
You can plan around specific projects to minimize potential noise exposure before beginning a task. There are numerous ways to implement better noise-reduction planning on the job site, such as building sound barriers and scheduling noisier jobs when fewer workers are present. You can also hold routine safety meetings to discuss noise-limiting practices that you can execute at work.
You can protect your workers from noise-induced hearing loss with quiet equipment rentals from The Cat Rental Store. Our dealers carry a comprehensive selection of high-performing heavy machinery equipped with the latest technologies.
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