Noise exposure may seem like a minor issue, but it is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and it can have profound consequences for staff members. If employees at your workplace are routinely exposed to noise, you’ll need to understand OSHA rules and regulations and follow best practices for handling the situation safely. Here’s what you need to know:
- OSHA has rules for when sound protection must be provided. OSHA mandates that employers provide protection against noise if sound levels exceed a certain decibel. The specific noise level that will trigger a requirement for an employer to provide protection varies depending upon the octave band sound pressure level, the band frequency in cycles per section, and the equivalent a-weighted sound level. You can reference the table on the OSHA website to find out if your company must provide workers with noise protection. Employers were assessed $1.5 million in penalties last year for not providing noise protection, so be certain you follow the rules.
- Explore engineering controls. OSHA has identified two types of controls that employers can put in place to protect workers from noise exposure. The first is engineering controls, which involve modifying equipment, getting new equipment or making physical changes to the workforce to reduce the amount of noise a worker is exposed to. Barriers between workers and noise sources or choosing low-noise machinery are two examples of engineering controls.
- Implement administrative controls. Administrative controls are the other type of control identified by OSHA to reduce or eliminate noise risk for workers. Some examples of administrative controls include scheduling the use of noisy machinery when fewer people are working; limiting how much time each worker spends at noise sources; and putting more distance between employees and the source of unacceptable noise in your workplace.
To protect employees from the dangers of noise exposure, you’ll also need staff members who take safety issues seriously. SmartTalent can help you to hire skilled workers who prioritize the creation of a safe worksite in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett and surrounding areas. Give our staffing professionals a call today to learn more.