In U.S, about 28 million people have some degree of hearing loss, which results from various factors such as disease, physical trauma, heredity, and exposure to loud noises. The number of employees with hearing loss from these sources is anticipated to rise with time as their age increases, and the primary cause in the workplace is exposure to loud noise. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSHA), workers with hearing problem face numerous challenges when responding to emergencies, communicating with their colleagues, and when working around machinery. Some employers may fail to have strategies or programs that deal with hearing conservation practice. This is why OSHA, provides workers, employers, and professional organizations with guidelines stipulating how safety and health needs of people with hearing problems in the workplace should be addressed. Employers have to implement some facilitates such as emergency evacuation routes, training programs, and good communication channels that accommodate people with hearing difficulties. Also, workers need to participate in planning, development, and implementation of these crucial facilitates.
OSHA ensures that employees receive full compensation in their workplace depending on the risk imposed by the nature of working environment as well as the number of hours worked. In U.S, it is estimated that about $ 242 million is spent per year on employees reparation for hearing loss disability. This is why it is important for all companies to implement hearing conservation programs. These programs intend to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, protect and preserve remaining hearing and equipping employees with necessary knowledge about hearing protection devices that can safeguard them. It is the responsibility of the employers to measure the level of noise, offer adequate training, and conducts free hearing exams per annum and ensures the devices being used are in good condition. This is crucial because firms with effective and appropriate hearing conservation programs experience high productivity level and few cases of tardiness and absenteeism. Employees who are diagnosed with hearing difficulties should wear hearing aids to facilitate their communication with their colleagues, and hear equipment or warning sounds. The devices ensure that the workers continue to be productive as well as making sure they are safe from any danger or emergency within the workplace.
Workers have the responsibility of evaluating whether their workplace is noisy or not and report the issues to their employer to make the work environment more conducive to them. Workers should understand that the workplace is noisy when they hear humming or ringing in their ears after leaving a job, they have to shout to their colleagues who are an arms length away to be heard and experience a temporary hearing loss immediately after leaving work. After the employers receive such complaints, they should respond by implementing measures that will ensure workers are not affected by the noise. Companies that aim to be competitive in this era should make sure that their employees are healthy both physically and emotionally. They should make sure they adhere to the rules and regulations provided by OSHA to make sure their employees are productive for the company to thrive.
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