Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
Volume 8, No. 11, November 2016
Noise exposure is a somewhat overlooked but very common occupational hazard. Processing recyclable materials can require the use of heavy equipment and industrial machinery, which means employees often work in loud environments.
One common myth surrounding noise exposure is that the ear “gets used” to the volume. In fact, if a person gets accustomed to a high level of noise it may indicate the beginning of hearing loss. At a basic level, if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone an arm’s length distance away, the environment is too noisy and could damage hearing.
Beyond noise induced hearing loss, noisy environments can threaten employee health and safety in a number of ways. Excessive noise may reduce worker productivity, increase workplace stress, and increase accidents if warning signals go unheard. Protect your employees from hearing damage by taking the following steps:
Personal Protective Equipment:
Provide employees with appropriate hearing protection, whether that be earplugs or heavy-duty muffs. Ensure ear protection fits employees properly and is comfortable enough to be worn for the full duration of work tasks.
Develop company guidelines for employee exposure to noise. If possible, relocate pieces of loud equipment to areas that expose fewer employees. Set time limits for employee exposure to noise and ensure there is a quiet area available for intermittent breaks.
Develop a company policy for assessing noise levels and test levels at regular intervals. Invest in low-noise equipment and tools, and ensure machinery is properly maintained and is running smoothly. Train employees to recognize the signs of hearing damage.
76th Annual Convention
Waste and Recycling Expo
ISRI Empire Chapter Annual Vendor Expo
Niagara Falls, NY
Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
130 Albert Street Suite 1906
Ottawa, On K1P 5G4