Some workplace health and safety issues relate to broad parameters that may impact all employees in any organization. As workplaces and industries become more specialized through technology-based factors, increased connections are made between a specific industry and a targeted impact on worker health concerns. One of these impacts is noise-related hearing loss.
Hearing loss is not a new kind of work-related injury. There are numerous articles and publications that make the correlation between consistent moderate to high levels of noise and worker hearing loss. Despite all of the information and pro-active messages about hearing loss, it appears to be an increasing problem in many sectors.
In 2014, workers in the oil and gas industry in British Columbia were surveyed for potential hearing loss with alarming results.
Based on the information provided, more than a third of the workforce in the oil and gas industry have signs of work-related hearing loss. This means that one in three employees are losing their hearing due to work-related causes. By comparison, if one in three employees sustained a physical injury at work as a result of consistent workplace accidents, the onus on the employer to prevent these accident-related injuries would be enormous! Just because we can not see hearing loss does not mean the impact of this type of injury is less than any other physical work-related trauma.
The call to action is now. Many employees will not be able to hear it in the future.
- Why do you think young employees, as noted in the article, do not wear hearing protection devices?
- If one third of a workforce was being injured at work, what types of actions do you think an employer should implement to stop that rate of injury?
- What does vigilant monitoring mean to you? Do you think it will change or modify an employee’s behaviour with regard to wearing hearing protection?