Many workplaces require machinery and equipment to perform the necessary job functions. Naturally, equipment can produce loud and concussive noise that overtime can cause serious damage to employees. How can you tell whether your workplace noise levels pose serious threat? Fortunately, there’s a few signs that can point out a potential issue:
- Shouting is required to be heard by a coworker within an arm’s distance
- Ringing in your ears after you’ve left work for the day
- Temporary hearing loss after you’ve left work for the day
- Employee complaints about noise and discomfort.
Effects of Unsafe Noise Levels in the Workplace
Occupational noise has been thoroughly researched and documented to show a wide range of health issues. Exposure to high noise levels for long periods of time not only results in permanent and irreversible hearing loss but often results in a wide variety of other health and wellness issues, such as reduced productivity, cognitive problems with concentration and memory, chronic headaches, increased fatigue, interference with overall job requirements and increased safety risk as a result of failure to avoid workplace injuries due to the inability to notice hazardous warning signs. There are even psychological problems that stem from being exposed to noise for too long.
The psychological impacts of noise can affect an individual’s everyday life in ways that can hurt the people around them as well. Cases involving annoyance, psychiatric disorders and overall psychosocial well-being have been discovered. Personality changes and reactions involving violence have also been linked to excessive noise exposure. In addition to these character trait changes, noise pollution can also cause both depression and anxiety, which can lead to chronic health issues. The list goes on.
Noticing the Warning Signs as a Manager
If prior compliance measures have not been taken, then managers can easily identify whether the work environment is too loud based on simple self-experiencing or through the observation and monitoring the behavior of employees.
Implementing awareness programs, adding systems, processes and equipment to minimize noise exposure and providing personal hearing protection devices not only protects employees from long-term health difficulties but may also avoid possible fines and expensive insurance premium rate hikes.admin