Did you know that Construction workers are among the most affected by industrial deafness? Safe Work Australia research shows that the construction industry is the third noisiest industry sector.
Many of the workers are surprised at this result, particularly when they may have considered it to be a ‘Quiet’ Day during which they only conducted the occasional noisy activity. However the meaning of a ‘Quiet’ Day to a Tradie is somewhat different to somebody who works in an Office.
If the noise around you makes it necessary for you to raise your voice to make yourself heard to somebody one metre away, your hearing is probably at risk. Repeated exposure to excessive noise will eventually lead to permanent damage.
A number of Studies have shown that, despite the risks of excessive noise exposure, the prevalence of hearing protection use among construction workers is very poor. This is partly because of perceived difficulties in hearing and understanding speech communication and warning signals.
By conducting a detailed noise assessment a more realistic set of solutions can be developed to target the noise at its source if possible, with simple techniques for administrative controls identified through discussions with the workers themselves. Remember, it is your duty to protect yourself and your employees from excessive noise exposure. Once you lose your hearing it never returns, so it’s worth the time and effort to get the right advice specific to your needs.
JTA’s Noise Team has significant experience in assessing the Occupational Noise Exposures of a broad range of construction workers. The results of many of these assessments indicate that the daily noise exposure of Tradies exceed the exposure standard of 85dBA and are at a significant risk of Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Noise in construction -Identification, assessment and control, Department of Commerce, Government of Western Australia.
Construction noise: exposure, effects, and the potential for remediation; a review and analysis. AIHA J 2002 Nov-Dec; 63(6):768-89.
Predictors of hearing protection use in construction workers. Ann Occup Hyg. 2009 Aug;53(6):605-15.