Those working in Tennessee industries such as mining, construction and even manufacturing may be used to working under noisy conditions, but do they realize the danger of hearing loss? While it has been reported as the workplace injury suffered most commonly by workers in the United States, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations guiding noise exposure safety are outdated. Now critics are calling on OHSA to update the regulations made back in the 1970s.
It is estimated that an average of 22 million people work in conditions where noise levels are considered hazardous, and workers' compensation claims in excess of $200 million are paid annually in this regard. These figures clearly call for attention to be paid to the regulations set so many years ago so as to conform to the societal changes that have occurred in the intervening years. Interestingly, a recent study found that it is not employees working in high noise levels who are the most at risk, but rather those working in environments where the levels of noise are seen as moderate.