Construction Safety: Protecting Against Hearing Loss

Construction Safety

Have you heard of illnesses or injuries that occur because of lifestyle choices? For example, being sedentary as a choice has many unhealthy consequences. Aging rockers with hearing loss may regret standing near a concert speaker the size of a townhouse in 1976. Still, that was a lifestyle choice.

You shouldn’t need to worry about work-related hearing loss, but professional rock musicians are at-risk. So are construction workers.

There are many new-and-improved devices for construction safety. One of them can lower the risk of noise-induced hearing loss and even increase productivity, thanks to musician Jon Bon Jovi’s team of doctors and sound engineers at Bongiovi Acoustics.

Honeywell says the global market for hearing protection technology and devices is going to surpass $650 million by 2024. Not only will the newer devices protect against noise-induced hearing loss they may also offer advancements in hearing protection benefits.

Encourage Construction Safety Awareness

Working in a noisy environment puts personal and overall construction safety at risk. Being able to communicate by speaking and hearing nosedives, but the biggest safety risk (other than hearing loss) is reduced situational awareness. That can be deadly to you and others on a construction project jobsite.

Half of all construction workers are exposed to hazardous noise. One thing we should do is train workers and project supervisors to better understand the risks.

Any noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause hearing loss:

  • Table saw – 93dB
  • Bulldozer – 100dB
  • Impact wrench – 102dB
  • Chop saw – 105dB
  • Chain saw – 110dB
  • Hammer drill – 115dB
  • Generator – 116dB
  • Hammer on nail – 120dB
  • Oxygen torch – 121dB
  • Jackhammer – 130dB

Blocking the noise doesn’t solve the problem. And most construction workers stop wearing protective devices exactly for that reason. They can’t hear what’s going on. The Bongiovi device (Clear 360 Pro) allows wearers to maintain communication with co-workers and hear – at safe decibel levels – what’s going on.

Too often, project workers are afraid to “speak up.” Developing and maintaining a construction safety culture encourages everyone to cite risks and seek solutions.

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How’s Your Construction Safety Culture?

construction safety

The pandemic changed the playing field for everyone. It definitely changed the safety culture for construction industry worksites. We were considered “essential workers,” but jobsites and office closures did substantial damage.

Back at work, we had to develop a new way of working; a more proactive safety culture. Did our industry do it? Did your company do it?

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) decided a safety culture should include a human health approach. You may size up workers’ fitness for a job by observing their physical strength; making sure they have the right protective gear and equipment. ABC’s Greg Sizemore says, “You need to look at the heart and mind in addition to the physical.”

Construction Safety Policies

It appears construction companies with a robust safety culture also have several commonalities. They often have:

  • A substance abuse policy that is emphasized and backed by drug/alcohol testing when possible
  • Intense safety focus that includes emotional health as well as physical
  • Leadership and management that visibly follow construction safety protocols and programs
  • New-hire training and onboarding that focuses special attention to policies and expectations
  • Regularly scheduled toolbox talks that include reminders of or focus on construction safety

What You Can Do: Get Back to the Basics

If your safety culture is off-course and you want to get it back on track for 2022, Environmental, Health, and Safety Advisor editor Jay Kumar says you can start by getting back to the basics. Begin by reviewing OSHA’s Construction Safety & Injury Prevention workbook. Several steps are key to fostering change in your company’s safety culture:

  1. Define the need for change
  2. Commit to a construction safety culture
  3. Assess current safety program(s)
  4. Strategically plan
  5. Focus on incident control – your goal is 0% incidents
  6. Communicate the change and implement the goals 
  7. Measure and analyze the results

Sometimes, getting back to the basics strengthens moving forward. It’s a solid strategy that works.

If your marketing strategy is stale, maybe it’s time to start at the beginning. Building permit analytics is the beginning of a marketing strategy that leads to winning bids and forming profitable alliances. Contact Construction Monitor to learn how.