Most industries have exposure to job-related noise that can lead to hearing degradation over time. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that as many as one in four young adults already has hearing damage, and some 40 million Americans in all report hearing loss. They also predicted that the cost for the first year of hearing loss treatments is projected to reach $51 billion by 2030. This is all the more reason to consider our workspaces and determine whether we can provide a safer (and more efficient) environment by reducing workplace noise.
Last year, US businesses paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers against noise. Exposure to noise kills nerve endings in the ear, and that cannot be reversed by surgery or medicine. Some reports estimate that businesses pay over $240 million a year in hearing related healthcare.
Some businesses try to screen out the noise with protective equipment, barriers and screens or procedures like keeping machines well oiled and in good working order. While administrators can make some efforts to reduce the amount of time workers are exposed to noise, changing the source of the noise is the most effective way to protect hearing. Modifying or replacing equipment is also highly effective. Static mixers are a great example. While some mixers contribute a serious amount of workplace noise and vibration, innovative mixers, such as the ones Komax deploys at paper mills worldwide significantly reduce the noise and the vibration – while delivering cost savings.
Considering that the CDC report found 53% of adults with noise-induced hearing damage had no job exposure to loud sounds, that makes creating a safe work environment even more critical. Finding the right equipment makes workers’ lives safer and can help your bottom line.