Among all the hazards in the workplace, many people overlook a major risk factor for injuries — hazardous noise levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — approximately 25% of all workers are regularly exposed to hazardous levels of noise while on the job. While noise can be a problem in any industry, hearing loss is especially problematic for manufacturing workers.
Are workers wearing hearing protection?
The CDC reports that around 34% of workers report not wearing their hearing protection. However, this is not necessarily because workers are not eager to protect themselves. Part of the problem is that many employers only provide one style or size of hearing protection. For example, providing only one size or type of plug ear protections is not effective because workers all have ear canals of different sizes. If a worker does not have access to the correct size hearing protection, he or she may be less inclined or even able to use it.
Hearing loss is not uncommon
In the manufacturing industry, hearing loss accounts for one out of every nine recorded injury cases. Hearing loss even affects those who wear hearing protection on a regular basis. This is partly because some employers fail to properly train workers on how to wear protection correctly. Some common problems include:
- Inserting earplugs sideways
- Not inserting earplugs into the ear canal
- Wearing the wrong size earplug
Hearing loss can impact all different aspects of a person’s life, from personal to professional. Many victims in Missouri struggle to return to their former positions or end up transitioning into new fields in which they have less experience. While this might feel like an impossible situation, workers’ compensation benefits can help cover costs associated with work injuries, including medical bills and vocational rehabilitation training.