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Noise-induced hearing loss causes and prevention

Hearing loss due to occupation is one of the biggest problems facing miners with it being the second most common injury reported in the industry. This should come as no surprise to those in the industry as the worksite is a loud environment.

The causes include the noise generated surface drilling rigs, continuous mining, tail rollers, fans, and more. Even after hearing loss has affected a miner, steps must be taken to prevent further damage. Noise levels should be measured by a competent, professional service and employees should be notified (using a noise map) to let them know which areas are most hazardous and what protective equipment should be worn. Additionally, the exposure to noise should be noted in personnel files.

Engineering controls can be placed at the source of noise, for instance: barriers, vibration dampeners, mufflers, and absorptive panels. Equipment and machinery should be well maintained and when purchasing new products enhanced noise control should be considered. Where possible, the source of noise should be isolated (or blocked). Rotating employees is also an effective measure. Limit exposure to those noisy areas with regular job rotation. Additionally, employees should have the proper safety training and know what protective equipment to wear in each area of the worksite.

 

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