Every year, there are over 20,000 cases of hearing loss in American workplaces. Many of these lead to permanent hearing loss. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising.
There’s a high level of exposure to noise levels in many work environments. They usually exceed the decibel requirement.
This requirement seeks to limit exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (dBA). This is over a continuous eight-hour period.
Adhering to this can help reduce hearing loss cases. Implementing a hearing conservation program (HCP) can also help.
Interested in learning how you can incorporate this at your facility? How do you implement a hearing conservation program? This article answers this as well: What does a hearing conservation program include? and more. Read on to find out.
What is the Purpose of a Hearing Conservation Program?
The main goal of a hearing conservation program is to protect workers from hearing loss. It seeks to prevent its occurrence. However, if hearing loss is already an issue, it also aims to reduce its progression.
It provides training for workers on properly using devices that protect hearing. This allows them to play a more active role in safeguarding themselves while at work.
Most workplaces that implement effective HCPs enjoy lower rates of absenteeism. They also experience greater work productivity.
What Does a Hearing Conservation Program Include?
Some other major hearing conservation program requirements include:
- A review of current noise exposure reduction measures
- Noise level measurement and monitoring
- Free yearly hearing exams
- Evaluation of hearing protection equipment
- Record keeping
Employers should also conduct yearly audits of their procedures. There should also be continuous evaluation of the program.
How Do You Implement a Hearing Conservation Program?
Although a great question, there’s another question you should ask before learning the answer to this. It’s What is the First Step in a Hearing Conservation Program?
The first step is to create a plan for the program. This involves examining any administrative issues. This includes industry regulations and current company policies.
You’ll also need to evaluate the persons involved and their roles. A checklist would be helpful to ensure you cover all the program’s requirements. Thankfully, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) provides one.
The implementation then starts with measuring current noise levels. You can do this with a dosimeter or a sound level meter (SLM). This will determine if your dBA is greater than 85.
You should include any workers exposed to these levels in the program. You’ll then need to take measures to reduce current noise levels. This includes putting controls in place.
Workers must play a part in implementing and maintaining these. They’ll need to wear the necessary equipment provided. Equipment maintenance and scheduling of hearing tests are also crucial throughout the program.
Protecting Your Workers’ Hearing
Unfortunately, every year millions of workers are exposed to high noise levels. In some cases, this can result in permanent hearing loss. Employers should do their part to prevent and reduce this.
One way they can is by implementing a hearing conservation program. Knowing the answer, what does a hearing conservation program include? is key to its success. This helps to ensure you put all the hearing program requirements in place.
However, if you’re still uncertain how to do this, help is available. Phase Associates provides companies with noise exposure surveys, evaluations, and controls. Contact Phase Associates today to get started!
Our hearing conservation programs are offered in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.
If you are interested in learning about other workplace safety tips, look at some of our other articles. We list just a few below.