A recent study at the National Public Health Institute of Quebec confirmed what many of us would assume to be the case: exposure to loud noise at work can be hazardous to workers. The study, which compared thousands of workplace injuries over a 20-year time period found that regular exposure to noise levels of 100 decibels at least doubled the possibility of injury in the workplace when compared to other workers.
Routine exposure to loud noise, not surprisingly, also increases the incidence of hearing loss, which can also lead to workplace injury. In addition, workers who suffer from hearing loss and who are regularly exposed to loud noise are over 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for a workplace injury.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration currently recommends that employers take steps to address noise levels in the workplace, including conducting regular noise assessments, offering hearing protection and monitoring workers’ hearing. Companies that fail to protect their workers from loud noise may end up responsible for a workers’ hearing impairment when it is not covered by workers’ compensation.
In New Jersey, there are specific rules identifying the conditions under which workers’ compensation covers work-related hearing loss. When hearing loss is not covered by workers’ compensation, employees may still be able to recover directly from their employer.
Those who have questions about obtaining compensation for work-related hearing loss should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney to determine their options and the most efficient way to obtain compensation.
Source: Reuters, “Loud noise may raise risk for workplace injuries,” Shereen Jegtvig, April 2, 2014.