The Health effects of noise at work
Sheila Pantry OBE
Noise at work can cause hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent. People often experience temporary deafness after leaving a noisy place. Although hearing recovers within a few hours, this should not be ignored. It is a sign that if you continue to be exposed to the noise your hearing could be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing damage can be caused immediately by sudden, extremely loud, explosive noises, e.g. from guns or cartridge-operated machines.
But hearing loss is usually gradual because of prolonged exposure to noise. It may only be when damage caused by noise over the years combines with hearing loss due to ageing that people realise how deaf they have become. This may mean their family complains about the television being too loud, they cannot keep up with conversations in a group, or they have trouble using the telephone. Eventually everything becomes muffled and people find it difficult to catch sounds like 't', 'd' and 's', so they confuse similar words.
Hearing loss is not the only problem. People may develop tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears), a distressing condition which can lead to disturbed sleep. Remember: Young people can be damaged as easily as the old. Look at the advice and guidance from many authoritative sources listed in OSHWORLD's subject file under Noise and also Noise and Hearing Loss.
This month's OSHWORLD FOCUS draws attention to the European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2006. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work 2006 campaign slogan is 'Safe Start' and is dedicated to the occupational safety and health (OSH) of young people to ensure a safe and healthy start to their working lives. The Agency's web pages contain helpful information for young people, employers, parents and supervisors of young people.
European Week 2006 will run from 23rd - 27th October 2006
The Diary of Events show how many courses, conferences and seminars are being held around the world to enable people to keep up to date with the developments. Any new items carry the tag NEW!
It essential that training needs are constantly updated. It is essential that everyone is trained to do their job correctly. You may find the series of EurOhse2006 Masterclasses and other courses listed in the diary help to focus the type of training needed.
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Wishing you a zero accident, incident-free and healthy year in 2006 in your workplace!