According to NIOSH, 4 million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.
Job sites and shops can be noisy, and operating a successful workplace hearing conservation program is one of the many tasks health and safety managers face.
They must enforce all applicable rules and regulations while providing the right equipment, training, and support for their noise-exposed workforce.
In response, the 3M Personal Safety Division has launched a website full of information for managers and safety professionals looking to protect employees’ hearing. It’s called the 3M Center for Hearing Conservation. On it, safety managers can find articles and details about the seven elements of a hearing loss prevention program, as well as videos, toolkits, fast facts, and more.
Created by 3M audiologists and occupational health and safety specialists, the website can help companies as they work to ensure that legal requirements are met and that workers remain engaged and motivated.
“We’ve known for decades that exposure to high noise causes hearing damage over time. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are tens of thousands of work-related cases of noise-induced hearing loss reported each year. There are solutions, but it can be challenging for employers to develop effective preventive programs,” said Dr. Laurie Wells, a doctor of audiology at 3M.
“With the Center for Hearing Conservation, we are providing health and safety managers additional tools and resources to help prevent hearing damage within the workplace,” Wells said.
The website outlines seven elements based on OSHA requirements and NIOSH recommendations to help guide managers and occupational health and safety professionals as they work to create and maintain their programs:
Each element is thoroughly explained, and though there are the requisite references and links to allied 3M products and services, the site is heavy on useful information. It’s clean, well illustrated, easy to read, and contains helpful glossaries of key terms throughout that are downloadable for dissemination to the team.
The Center for Hearing Conservation joins other online resources provided by the 3M Personal Safety Division, including the Center for Respiratory Protection, the Safety Now & Next Blog, and the Silica Tool Kit.