While anyone working in the construction industry in New Jersey may wear ear protection, it is still best that workers understand when noisy tools and equipment endanger their hearing. Besides resulting in permanent hearing loss, especially noisy construction sites often have more avoidable accidents.
OSHA helps construction workers identify especially noisy construction tools. Proper protective equipment combined with dependable knowledge both help to keep workers as safe as possible.
Devices that measure sound
One of the easiest ways to determine noise volume is to use sound-measuring devices. Noise dosimeters measure average noise exposure while sound level meters measure noise and sound levels. It is best that site noise not exceed 85 dBA and that workers not expose themselves to high noise levels more than necessary.
Using distance to gauge sound level
Construction workers can also use distance to determine if tools are too noisy. Workers can stand two feet from each other and power a tool on. If one worker has to raise her or his voice over the noise at two feet away for the other person to hear, the tool is probably too loud to use without proper hearing protection.
While earplugs and earmuffs can help protect workers’ hearing, they are not the most efficient means of hearing protection, as pointed out by Total Safety. Personal noise indicators are another equipment option, which flashes red when area noise is above 85 dBA.
OSHA recommends administrative protective controls such as soundproof rooms where workers can go to allow their ears to recover from exposure to noise. Trapping noise through the use of sound curtains and walls is a recommended engineering protective control.
Construction employers should look into hearing conservation programs. Using them allows workers to easily identify dangerous noise levels and find the right noise protection equipment.