WorkSafeBC Releases New Resources on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the Service Industry

WorkSafeBC aims to raise awareness about the risk of hearing loss in the service industry with the release of a new safety bulletin and other resources for workers and employers.

WorkSafeBC aims to raise awareness about the risk of hearing loss in the service industry with the release of a new safety bulletin and other resources for workers and employers.

Unprotected workers who are regularly exposed to noise levels about 85 decibels (dBA) could face permanent hearing loss. Studies have shown that some pubs and nightclubs in Vancouver and Victoria regularly exceed those levels during a regular shift posing a serious risk to those in the service industry, WorkSafeBC reported.

“Noise is a serious and widespread problem in many workplaces, and this includes the service industry,” said Dan Strand, Director of Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC. “Our research has found that most service sector workers and employers are not aware of the risk of hearing loss in their industry.”

WorkSafeBC has new resource online to raise awareness and understanding about noise-induced hearing loss, including a new safety bulletin. Other new resources include three videos—What Noise Does to Your EarsIntensity and Duration of Noise, and How to Use Earplugs—and the recent publication Preventing noise-induced hearing loss at work.

The organization stressed that occupational hearing loss can be prevented if employers and workers collaborate to control noise exposure.

According to WorkSafeBC, if noise levels exceed 85 decibels over an eight-hour shift, employers are required to have a noise control and hearing conservation program, with key elements including noise measurement, hearing protection, and annual hearing tests for employees. The organization said bartenders and servers should use hearing protection, choosing a style that is comfortable and that they like.

“Studies show that when noise levels reach 90 decibels or higher, hearing protection actually improves your ability to hear speech,” Strand said. “We need to change how we think about hearing protection in the service industry.”

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