Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Assessing Occupational Noise Exposure Risks to Support Hearing Loss Prevention Efforts in Puerto Rico

Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Zimmetry Environmental offers industrial hygiene surveys for occupational exposure to noise and ototoxic chemicals to protect workers and provide employers with compliance services.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico, March 16th, 2020 -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. The agency goes on to report that about 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year; approximately 10 million workers are exposed to solvents, which can damage hearing; and an unknown number of workers are exposed to other ototoxic chemicals that can also cause hearing loss.

 

Work-related hearing loss is often permanent and it can have a profound impact on workers’ quality of life, it is also directly responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars spent on disability costs each year. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to identify exposure risks, including measuring noise levels. If measurements indicate that noise exposure limits are exceeded, reducing the total energy reaching the ear can be achieved. For example, engineering the noise out through replacement of equipment, using barriers or sound absorption, moving the noisy operation farther away from personnel or enclosing the operation. Administrative controls, such as limiting exposure times by rotating personnel in and out of loud areas, and using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as ear muffs or plugs are also solutions.

 

“Occupational hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises, solvents and ototoxic chemicals is preventable,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). Hearing conservation programs strive to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and PPE necessary.”

 

In Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean, Zimmetry Environmental’s industrial hygienists conduct noise studies and worksite audits to identify exposure hazards to sound and chemicals that are toxic to the ear. To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their noise or other industrial hygiene, building science, indoor environmental quality, compliance and consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email info@zimmetry.com.

 

About Zimmetry Environmental

Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies.  The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America.  The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.