Q After years working in construction, I’ve noticed my hearing has deteriorated quite a bit. Could this be considered a workplace injury?
Over the years as a construction worker, you have braved innumerable hazards and dangers while you have earned a living. Whether you work at great heights, with dangerous equipment, or with hazardous chemicals, you have safely navigated your workplace without incident for years—you are truly the model of a safe coworker and employee.
Perhaps you noticed a decline in your hearing over time, or maybe you suddenly noticed that you can no longer follow conversations effortlessly. You may have discovered that you have the volume higher than ever before on your television, or you do not hear people unless you can see them. Regardless of what tipped you off, you are beginning to realize that you are suffering from hearing loss—and you are not alone.
Construction Sites: A Hot Zone for Hearing Loss
One of the most common work injuries in the United States is hearing loss, and at a construction site, it is easy to see why construction workers often experience this injury. Loud equipment is everywhere, constantly creating damaging levels of noise; many workers assume that this is par for the course, and never realize that their employers are required to regulate noise exposure just as they regulate chemical exposure or other hazards.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) sets very strict guidelines for controlling and limiting employee exposure to noise, including providing specific training and protection for at-risk employees. In addition, for employees like construction workers who are regularly exposed to high levels of noise, employers should provide hearing tests each year to monitor their hearing.
On a construction site, noise is inevitable, but OSHA has several ways that construction supervisors can reduce the risk of hearing loss on the job. After identifying the equipment or machines that are responsible for the greatest amount of noise, they should make every attempt to:
- Reduce the noise that the equipment produces by ensuring it is properly maintained and made to operate as quietly as possible.
- Move the equipment away from workers who will not be using it, or move those workers to a quieter area when the machine is in use.
- Block equipment noise with an acoustic barrier to protect other workers.
Hearing loss in the construction industry is a common workplace injury that can greatly impact your ability to work, as well as your quality of life. Speak with an attorney today if your work-related hearing loss has impacted your life—click on the live chat link or call us today to be connected with our construction accident injury firm now.