At low levels noise can be irritating, but at high levels hearing can be
damaged. As you might expect, hearing loss gets worse with exposures that
are louder or longer. How loud is too loud? If you need to raise your voice
to be understood at a distance of three feet, you should think about doing
something. The typical hearing loss victim has been exposed on a daily
basis to very loud noises (yelling-level plus) for a number of years without
using hearing protection.
If you regularly work in noisy areas, you are likely a participant in Fermilab's
hearing conservation program. If you are among these 174 people, you know
that annual training and a hearing test are required. If you are not a
participant, but are concerned about your exposure to noise, you should
contact your division/section ES&H organization.
At Fermilab, regularly-occupied areas that exceed OSHA's noise limits are
clearly posted. Whether or not you are in the lab's hearing conservation
program, your best action to minimize the risk of hearing loss is to use
hearing protection. In most cases, a supply of earplugs is maintained
in posted areas. Plugs and muffs can also be obtained from Fermilab's stockroom.
Though noise exposures occur at work, at least as many people participate
in non-work activities that present greater exposures. This is especially
true when using engine-powered equipment for yard maintenance or recreational
transportation. Again, the use of hearing protection, as well as other protective
equipment, is often the best course of action in these cases.
Have a great day and let's work safely all week!
Safety Tip of the Week Archive