Why it happens and how you can help prevent it.
Canadian workers in the oil and gas industry are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in alarming numbers.
According to hearing loss data collected by employers across the country in 2017, 45% of Canadian oil and gas workers experienced NIHL, compared with 33% of workers in 2012. Even more shocking: of the 294 oil and gas workers with NIHL, 65% of them were under the age of 35.1
Why is this happening?
While the number of workers with NIHL in this sector has increased, the percentage of workers who report wearing a hearing protection device is actually higher, increasing from 94% to 98%. Most of these workers tend to use foam earplugs for hearing protection.
Why is there an increased rate of NIHL with increased use of earplugs?
Earplugs might be the wrong size
Earplugs could be inserted or worn incorrectly
Earplugs might not be worn for long enough
Earplugs may not provide enough protection for noise exposure
How to prevent NIHL in oil and gas workers
Show workers proper technique for how to wear hearing protection, including earmuffs, and proper earplug insertion.
Ensure workers have access to an adequate supply of earplugs — generally offering 3-5 different types of earplugs is ideal.
Validate the fit of earplugs and earmuffs, and ensure they are providing proper protection.
This should be ongoing to ensure workers are happy and the earplug fit is working.
- 1 Article Source: ISHN, Hearing loss increase found in oil, gas workers. https://www.ishn.com/articles/109216-hearing-loss-increase-found-in-oil-gas-workers.
- 2 Smith, P.S., Lusk, S.L., & Monaco, B. (2014). Attitudes towards use of hearing protection devices and effects of an intervention on fit-testing results. Workplace Health & Safety, 62(12), 491-499.
- 3 WorkSafeBC, https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/news-events/news-releases/2017/February/young-construction-workers-hearing-protection.
Click here to learn more about how to protect workers from NIHL and to get a free demo of our fit-testing machine.
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