The majority of people face at least some potential hazards in their workplace each day. However, due to the nature of their environment, construction workers can be prone to more severe injuries than many others.
Understandably, construction site injuries are often thought of as traumatic physical injuries such as broken bones and head trauma. However, there is one type of injury that often goes unnoticed: Hearing loss. Frequently, construction workers are exposed to explosions, heavy machinery and other loud noises, all of which can result in hearing loss.
Immediate and gradual hearing loss
Sudden damage to someone’s hearing may be caused by an immediate incident, such as an explosion. However, damage to the ears can often happen over an extended period of time. Research suggests that the average noise level on American construction sits at around 80-90 decibels (dBA).
However, certain heavy machinery such as drills and forklifts frequently hit decibel levels over 100. These numbers are of particular significance because they exceed the recommended maximum noise level of 85 decibels set out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
How might hearing loss be prevented on construction sites?
There are several safety procedures that may be implemented to reduce the risk of hearing loss in construction workers. Most notably, employees should always be provided with the appropriate protective equipment, such as earplugs. Also, ensuring safe distances are maintained between personnel and the sources of loud noises could be extremely beneficial.
Understanding the potential risks as well as the early warning signs of hearing loss could be in your best interests. If you have been injured as a result of your work in the construction industry, there are legal options open to you.