New NIOSH/OSHA Guidance on Ototoxicity Posted

"There is growing concern among occupational health and safety professionals that ototoxicant-induced hearing loss may go unrecognized since the measure for hearing loss does not indicate the cause," the document states. "For example, audiometric tests are powerful tools that show hearing impairments (i.e., threshold shifts); however, they do not differentiate between noise and ototoxic causes."

A document posted by NIOSH on March 15 and credited both to NIOSH and OSHA offers guidance for preventing hearing loss that is caused by ototoxic chemicals and noise exposure. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2018-124 lists five examples of substance classes of ototoxic chemicals:

  • pharmaceuticals
  • solvents
  • asphyxiants
  • nitriles
  • metals and compounds

Mercury compounds and lead are among the chemicals listed in the metals and compounds class. The asphyxiants listed include carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, and hydrogen cyanide and its salts.

"There is growing concern among occupational health and safety professionals that ototoxicant-induced hearing loss may go unrecognized since the measure for hearing loss does not indicate the cause," the five-page document states. "For example, audiometric tests are powerful tools that show hearing impairments (i.e., threshold shifts); however, they do not differentiate between noise and ototoxic causes."

It points out that harmful exposure to ototoxicant chemicals can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Workers' risk of hearing loss is increased when they're exposed to the chemicals while working around elevated noise levels, it says, adding that the hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the level of noise, the dose of the chemical, and the duration of exposure, and such impairment affects many occupations and industries, from machinists to firefighters.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • COVID-19 Return to Work Kit

    Streamline your return to work program and ensure your employees can get back safely with these resources created by certified occupational health, safety, and infectious disease experts.

  • 9 Common Questions About Behavior-Based Safety

    Renowned workplace safety expert Dr. Andrew Sharman answers 9 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about behavior-based safety programs.

  • COVID-19 Employee Health Screening Toolkit

    Powerful health assessment tools designed to help occupational health practitioners, employee health departments, and health and safety professionals conduct rapid workforce health screening to reduce the risk of infection and ensure business continuity.

  • RSIGuard Home Ergonomics Software

    Ensure you and your employees can work safely from home with a 6 month free trial of the RSIGuard desktop ergonomics software.

  • 5 Reasons You Should Embrace the Cloud for EHSQ Software

    EHSQ managers can realize reduced costs, increased productivity and enhanced software reliability when using SaaS.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2020

    June 2020

    Featuring:

    • FIRE SAFETY
      Recognizing and Mitigating Static Electricity Hazards
    • OIL & GAS
      New Gas Detection Technology
    • HEAT STRESS
      Stop Sweating Heat Stress
    • ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Electricity is Everywhere
    View This Issue