OSHA Hearing Conservation Programs – A Long-Awaited Shift
“Earning a living should not come at the expense of hearing loss” - William Donovan, OSHA Acting Regional Administrator
Overlooking prolonged noise exposure is an expensive proposition.
Starting in 2002, OSHA implemented hearing conservation programs that require employers to monitor noise exposure levels and protect employees. Limiting noise exposure to noise at or above 85 decibels (dB) averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average. Recently, OSHA introduced a Regional Emphasis Program to address on-the-job noise hazards in the manufacturing industry, specifically targeting organizations in the Midwest.
This program aims to reduce workplace dangers, prevent workplace hearing loss, protect remaining hearing, and provide employers and workers with the knowledge and equipment to control and reduce exposure to noise for improved safety and compliance.
The first phase of the three-month outreach program includes informational mailings to employers, professional associations, local survey councils, apprenticeship programs, local hospitals, and occupational health clinics as well as OSHA presentations to industry organizations and stakeholders. Organizations can get a free consultation from OSHA experts to implement the right noise safety strategies.
The Regional Emphasis Program outlines:
Hearing loss is avoidable with the right equipment, regular monitoring, and timely intervention. It is time to use intelligent technology solutions to drive behavioral shift and improve worker safety through worker empowerment, strategic decision-making, and real-time information capture.
Connect and Empower
Technologies such as IoT, wearable devices, and sensor networks can connect industrial workplaces and provide insights to make better decisions. Integrating smart solutions into safety processes and powering them with the right technology improves worker safety.
Technologies such as IoT and sensors can power industrial wearables to automatically detect unsafe exposure to noise and generate local and remote alarms based on configurable rules and policies.
Improve Compliance and Decision-Making
Advanced worker safety solutions that use sensors and IoT can be used to drive PPE compliance. Workers are only safe if they use the technology and protective equipment available to them properly, and equipment is only effective if used in the appropriate situation.
Therefore, industrial safety solutions must be intuitive and workers trained to use the correct PPE based on the work location, job type, and other parameters.
Drive Behavior-Based Safety with Real-Time Information
Behavior-based safety (BBS) programs are easy to implement and can be boosted with help from connected technologies like real-time location services (RTLS), digital lockouts, geofences, zone marking, real-time proximity detection and real-time notifications. These ensure access control to hazardous locations, restricting access to only those who are approved and are equipped with appropriate PPE.
BBS program success is tied to the correct use of technology and PPE by workers. By establishing the correct safety protocols and training their workforce in their use, employers can ensure that workers are more engaged and responsible towards safety and are therefore able to make workplaces inherently safer for employees. Preventing things such as work-related hearing injuries or loss.
Guardhat is pioneering end-to-end connected worker safety solutions for industrial workers. Offering cutting-edge, wearable technology; a proprietary connected worker platform – unrivaled in its ability to ingest, manage and analyze unstructured data; easy to deploy monitoring and reporting software; and a growing ecosystem of partner integrations. With Guardhat, companies can monitor worker location, health and work environment to speed reaction time and help proactively solve safety challenges. The company holds 15 patents in real time location systems, wearable solution design, and connected worker software. If you are interested in our wearable environmental monitoring devices, including noise-level sensors, or to see our systems in action; visit us at the opening of the Smart Factory at Wichita on September 13th, or contact us for a demo.