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Study shows loud noise can increase work-related accidents

Many Syracuse businesses are looking to improve workplace safety. A recent study has shown that loud noise can seriously affect workers in the workplace, leading to serious accidents.

The study was 20 years in the making. The results came from 46,550 male employees, whose work environment and level of hearing loss were studied. The research showed that the risk of injury increased by 1 percent for each decibel the worker was no longer able to hear.

Work-related accidents were found to be more common when noise levels exceed 100 decibels. This is the level of noise one would experience while standing by a lawnmower. At this noise level, workers were twice as likely to require hospitalization for an injury in the workplace. In severe cases, the risk of injury more than tripled. This is a serious issue, considering that approximately 30 million Americans are exposed to loud noises while at work, according to one of the researchers.

Employers can face significant costs when employees become injured and unable to work. Therefore, it is imperative that employers not only control loud noises in the workplace, but also educate workers about noise control and how they can protect themselves. High noise levels can result in impaired communication and decreased concentration.

Employees have the right to work in a safe environment. Unfortunately, employers don't always put much emphasis on reducing noise. Most employees wouldn't be able to function in a noisy office environment, so why should they be subject to extreme noise in other environments? Those who have concerns about noise and other deterrents should discuss them with their manager or shop steward. If nothing is done, then OSHA might be able to step in and assess the situation.

Source: WHBL, "Loud noise may raise risk for workplace injuries," Shereen Jegtvig, April 2, 2014

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