Every day, construction workers are surrounded by noise from power tools, compressors and heavy equipment. It's no wonder that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that nearly half of all construction workers suffer hearing loss. But while noise-induced hearing loss cannot be reversed, it can be prevented.
One way to attack this problem is to "buy quiet." The new NIOSH Buy Quietweb resource can help. NIOSH highlights the benefits of a Buy Quiet program, explains how to establish such a program in your workplace, and offers a video and posters to drive the message home.
NIOSH also provides exciting resources for selecting tools and machinery designed to reduce noise. The power tools databasecontains noise level data for a variety of common power tools, as well as links to the NIOSH Hearing Protector Compendiumto assist employers and workers in choosing appropriate hearing protection. Before buying or renting your next grinder, belt sander or hammer drill, you can visit the site and compare the stats for many commercial models.
Buying quiet offers benefits on many levels. It minimizes the impact of noise on communities, helps companies comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other noise regulations and requirements, and it reduces the potential long-term costs of audiometric testing, personal protective equipment, and workers' compensation.
CPWR is working closely with NIOSH through its Research-to-Practice initiative to raise awareness of the problem and help contractors find and implement solutions. The Construction Solutions website explains the hazard and provides information on a variety of solutions, and CPWR's pocket-sized, water-resistant NOISE Hazard Alert card is a great handout for a toolbox talk or safety class. Copies are available free, while supplies last. Send your request to email@example.com.
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CPWR -- The Center for Construction Research and Training is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Working with partners like you in business, labor, government, and the universities, we strive every day to make work safer for the 9 million men and women who work in the U.S. construction industry!