Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Occupational Hearing LossOctober 31, 2016
Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous levels of occupational noise each year. Workers most likely to be affected by hearing loss are those that work in the mining and construction industries, but anyone exposed to noise for eight hours a day every day is at risk as well. Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers remind workers that benefits exist for occupational hearing loss.
The Labor Department launched a challenge called “Hear and Now,” which looks for innovative ideas that will help workers avoid hazardous noise levels. While the intentions of the Labor Department are good, critics say that technology already exists that addresses the issue of occupational hearing loss. However, they contend the regulations that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed are outdated and do not take into account noise exposure that occurs outside of the workplace, including concerts, sporting events, and restaurants.
Surprisingly, employees who are exposed to moderate noise levels suffer greater damage than those who are exposed to high levels of noise. According to Mark Cullen, professor at Stanford University, this may be due to the fact that employees are more likely to wear hearing protection gear when they are exposed to high levels of noise, as opposed to moderate levels.
Employers’ Responsibility to Protect Workers
OSHA requires employers to provide hearing tests and free protective gear to employees who are exposed to at least eight hours of noise per day or above a time-weighted average of 85 decibels. If an employee’s hearing has been compromised, the employer must provide additional training programs. According to Cullen, the bigger picture solution would be to build noise barriers or eliminate noisy equipment, but more often than not, factories will only offer hearing protection gear, which employees may not wear as often as they should.
Technology is available that can measure noise exposure in the worker’s hearing protection gear, which lights up when noise levels become dangerous. This information can then be downloaded and tracked to determine whether there is a pattern of noise exposure.
While steps are being taken to increase awareness of hearing injuries, many employees who suffer from hearing damage are not receiving the financial support they need. Increased awareness and a greater financial investment in new equipment and training programs will help protect employees from this potentially debilitating injury.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Employees Suffering from Hearing Loss
If you have experienced occupational hearing loss from prolonged exposure to noise at work, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can help. We will work tirelessly to determine the cause of your injury so that we can pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.