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Hearing Loss: The Most Common Workplace Injury

Hearing LossWhen you think about being injured at work, you are likely to picture a slip and fall injury, falling from a ladder, or perhaps being hit by a piece of construction equipment. Workplace injuries, however, take many forms, and not all of them are as obvious as a laceration, a broken bone, or a lost limb. In fact, the most common type of workplace injury in the United States is not one that you can see. Hearing loss affects millions of American workers, despite being extremely preventable in most situations.

Unexpected Dangers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 22 million workers per year are exposed to levels of noise in the workplace that are deemed hazardous. When high levels of noise are part of worker’s job, federal regulations require the use of hearing protection, but it turns out that the really loud workplaces are not the source of the problem. In high-noise workplaces, workers tend to use hearing protection as requires, but the use of hearing protection drops substantially in moderate-noise environments.

In a moderate- or medium-noise workplace, the immediate danger of hearing damage is less, but the cumulative effect of such noise is still hazardous. Unfortunately, many employers and workers underestimate or downplay the risk and fail to utilize appropriate protection.

Federal Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that employers must provide their workers with hearing tests, training, and company-provided hearing protection if the employees are exposed to an average of 85 decibels or more for eight hours per day or more. To illustrate this amount of noise, 85 decibels is roughly equivalent to the noise generated by a household kitchen blender. OSHA’s maximum allowable exposure is 90 decibels on average over an eight-hour workday.

Efforts are underway to educate employers about the dangers of moderate-environments. In addition to providing hearing protection, company owners are encouraged to consider quieter tools, sound barriers, and other steps to reduce the risks faced by their employees.

Suffering From Hearing Loss?

If you have worked in a moderate-noise work environment and have suffered hearing loss as a result of your employment, you may be entitled to seek damages for your injury. Contact an experienced San Jose workplace injury attorney to discuss your case. We will help you understand your options and choose the best path forward for yourself and your loved ones. Call (408) 289-1417 for a free consultation at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today.

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