Hearing loss on the rise among Canadian oil and gas workers: study

August 16, 2019

Richmond, British Columbia — More Canadian oil and gas workers in the drilling sector are showing signs of job-related hearing loss, according to a recent study from WorkSafeBC.

oil-gas-pipework.jpg

Researchers looked at hearing test data collected by oil and gas employers from 2012 to 2017. They found that, despite an increase in workers reporting they wear hearing protection (to 98 percent from 94 percent), the percentage of workers with noise-induced hearing loss grew to 45 from 33.

Of the 294 workers affected, 66 percent were younger than 35.

“There are a number of reasons why workers may be diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss even though they are wearing some form of hearing protection,” Sasha Brown, an occupational audiologist at WorkSafeBC, said in an Aug. 22 press release. “The earplugs or earmuffs might be the wrong size, inserted or worn incorrectly, not worn for long enough, or they may not be providing enough protection for the duration and intensity of noise exposure.”

heairing loss oil and gas

Why choose Custom Hearing Protection

Custom Hearing Protection – means a customized hearing solution that fits the individuals ear exactly leaving little to no room for noise to get in. Just like one size fits all work boots are probably not the best choice, neither is one size fits all hearing protection. Every human ear is unique in size, shape, and depth. Therefore it makes sense that for hearing protection to be the most effective, as well as the most comfortable, it must be custom fit.  Due to the increase of hearing loss claims, more and more employers are choosing custom hearing protection over disposable ear plugs. Read More for a case study. 

WorkSafeBC offers the following recommendations to employers:

  • Ensure all at-risk workers wear sufficient hearing protection that fits, and that they understand how to properly wear it.
  • Make sure workers insert or wear the correct hearing protection before entering a noisy environment, and wear it until they exit that location.
  • Rotate workers to different positions to minimize their time in noisy environments.
  • Identify potential engineering controls to mitigate risk of exposure.
  • Ensure workers have their hearing tested and are aware of the results.

To assist employers and workers, WorkSafeBC has published a safety bulletin featuring an infographic on earplug insertion and online resources.

Each year, 22 million U.S. workers face exposure to potentially damaging occupational noise, and employers spend an estimated $242 million on hearing loss disability, according to OSHA. The agency’s requirements for hearing protection are outlined in 29 CFR 1910.95.


SOURCE
https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17549-hearing-loss-on-the-rise-among-canadian-oil-and-gas-workers-study

Westone Acquires North America’s Largest Custom-Fit Industrial Hearing Protection Manufacturer

March 12, 2019

For Immediate Release

Westone

 

 

 

 

 

Westone Laboratories
2235 Executive Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
www.Westone.com

Westone Acquires North America’s Largest Custom-Fit Industrial Hearing Protection Manufacturer

Colorado Springs, CO – February 14, 2019 – In partnership with their principal investment group, HealthEdge Investment Partners, Westone Laboratories, Inc., a market leader in custom earpieces, high performance in-ear monitoring technology and hearing protection, announced it has closed on its acquisition of Custom Protect Ear, the largest custom-fit industrial hearing protection manufacturer in North America.

Zubin Meshginpoosh, President and Chief Commercial Officer of Westone shared, “We are delighted to join forces with Custom Protect Ear, the most trusted brand in custom-fit hearing protection used by hundreds of industrial clients across a wide variety of industries.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, Chairman, and CEO of Custom Protect Ear added, “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is an epidemic in the workplace, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to eradicate it. This partnership with Westone allows us to expand our geographic reach, increase the pace of innovation and have a positive impact on more lives.”

Custom Protect Ear’s management team and operations will remain headquartered in Vancouver, BC with an operating subsidiary, ProtectEar USA, based in the United States.

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About Westone

Established in 1959, Westone Laboratories is celebrating 60 years of delivering custom earpieces that protect and enhance hearing, facilitate communication, and support hearing healthcare professionals. The largest manufacturer of custom earpieces in the world with both hearing healthcare and music specialists on our research, development and production teams, Westone is recognized as a leading innovator across the custom earplug, hearing protection, and music industries. Westone is a proud partner of the United States Military providing specially designed communication-enabled and hearing protection earpieces for service members and first-responders around the world. It is our people, our experience, and our products that truly make Westone “The In-Ear Experts®.” For more information, visit Westone.com or contact Jeff Ipson at (719) 540-9333.

About Custom Protect Ear

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Custom Protect Ear was founded in 1976 and provides effective, verifiable, and noise level matched industrial hearing protection to over 4,500 corporate clients worldwide across a wide range of industries including distribution, manufacturing, machining, energy, packaging, public safety & security, transportation, and food. CPE is a certified and compliant ISO 9001 manufacturer that incorporates both traditional handcrafted manufacturing processes and leading-edge 3D printing technology. Known for their product quality and customer service, CPE utilizes a custom fitting process performed by highly trained technicians to personalize every protective earpiece to each user then backs it with a ‘FitRight Guarantee’ and industry-leading warranty program. For more information, visit ProtectEar.com

About HealthEdge Investment Partners

HealthEdge Investment Partners, LLC is an operating-oriented private equity firm founded in 2005 that focuses exclusively on the healthcare industry. HealthEdge seeks to achieve superior returns by investing in businesses that benefit from the knowledge, experience, and network of relationships of its partners. HealthEdge’s partners have more than 100 years of combined operating experience in healthcare as CEOs and investors. For more information on HealthEdge, please visit HealthEdgepartners.com or contact Elizabeth Breslin at (813) 490-7104.

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Timber, Noise, and Hearing Loss: A Look into the Forestry and Logging Industry

June 22, 2018

Timber, Noise, and Hearing Loss: A Look into the Forestry and Logging Industry

We use our senses for many things. Take away or weaken one, such as hearing, and many things around us begin to change. Unexpectedly, the conversation across the room becomes more difficult to hear. Our favorite song on the radio doesn’t sound quite the same. This can become very frustrating for the person affected.

Hearing loss is common, especially among workers who are exposed to hazardous noise where they work. What exactly is “hazardous noise”? Noise is considered hazardous when it reaches 85 decibels (dBA) or more. In other words, when a person needs to raise his/her voice to speak with someone at arm’s length or about 3 feet away, a person is likely being exposed to noise that can potentially damage his/her hearing over time. This exposure to hazardous noise and/or chemicals that can damage hearing may lead to hearing loss linked to the workplace, also known as occupational hearing loss.

The risk of developing hearing loss varies by industry. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently looked at one particular industry sector in its paper: Prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting sector, 2003-2012. This study looked at the number of workers in this industry sector that had a material hearing impairment, which is hearing loss that interferes with understanding speech. We’ll call it hearing loss in this blog.

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting is among the top industry sectors for worker exposure to hazardous noise that can contribute to hearing loss (37% exposed vs. 25% for all industries combined). Hearing loss within Forestry and Logging, an industry within this sector, is more pervasive. Noise-exposed workers in Forestry and Logging had a higher percentage of hearing loss (21%) than all noise-exposed industries combined (19%). To put this into perspective, a different study found that only 7% of non-noise-exposed workers reported hearing difficulty. Worker tasks in Forestry and Logging include:

  • managing forest nurseries
  • tending to timber tracts (plots of land selected for collecting timber)
  • gathering forest products
  • harvesting standing trees for timber

 

Timber-Logging

Activities associated with these tasks, such as unlatching cables used to hold and move logs (92 dBA) and the use of chainsaws (91-110 dBA), represent some of the highest noise exposures to this industry’s workers, and overall average exposures in some occupations have been shown to range from 97-102 dBA. These noise exposures, among others, contribute to the elevated prevalence of hearing loss seen in this industry.

Within Forestry and Logging, Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products had the highest prevalence of hearing loss (36%). This represents the highest prevalence within Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting.

Fortunately, there are effective methods for preventing worker hearing loss from noise. Reducing the noise, preferably at the source, is always the first and best step. To further reduce worker exposure to hazardous noise and minimize hearing loss within Forestry and Logging, this industry can:

  • Enclose engines and heavy equipment workstations to contain the noise
  • Install silencers and mufflers on equipment
  • Reduce exposure time for workers operating noisy equipment
  • Perform maintenance of hand tools and vehicle systems
  • Ensure that workers consistently wear properly-fitted hearing protection every time they are in noisy areas or using noisy equipment
  • Make sure that employees receive regular monitoring for changes in their hearing, so that additional measures to limit the progression of any detected hearing loss can be taken

There are also activities within Forestry and Logging that can expose workers to vibration, which may also contribute to the risk of hearing loss through suspected changes to the blood-flow within the inner ear. Vibration exposure can be reduced through routine maintenance of equipment and the use of anti-vibration chainsaws and gloves.

Visit our website for more information on occupational hearing loss surveillance and links to resources to protect worker hearing.

If you work in this industry, please share your experiences with reducing noise and improving worker safety and health.


SOURCE 

Loud noise on the job are at increased risk for hypertension and high cholesterol

May 22, 2018

Cincinnati — Workers exposed to loud noise on the job are at increased risk for hypertension and high cholesterol – key risk factors for heart disease – according to a recent study from NIOSH.

worker-hivis-jackhammer

Using 2014 National Health Interview Survey data of nearly 23,000 workers, researchers estimated the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty and heart conditions within U.S. industries and occupations. They also looked at the association between workplace noise exposure and heart disease.

The researchers found a link between a history of noise exposure at work and a significantly elevated risk of both high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Other findings:

  • The industries with the highest prevalence of occupational noise exposure were mining (61 percent), construction (51 percent) and manufacturing (47 percent).
  • Occupations with the highest prevalence of occupational noise exposure were production (55 percent); construction and extraction (54 percent); and installation, maintenance and repair (54 percent).
  • Occupational noise exposure contributed to 58 percent of hearing difficulty cases, 14 percent of hypertension cases and 9 percent of elevated cholesterol cases.

“This study provides further evidence of an association of occupational noise exposure with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and the potential to prevent these conditions if noise is reduced,” Elizabeth Masterson, study lead author and NIOSH epidemiologist, said in a March 21 press release. “It is important that workers be screened regularly for these conditions in the workplace or through a health care provider so interventions can occur. As these conditions are more common among noise-exposed workers, they could especially benefit from these screenings.”

Safety

The study was published online March 14 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

SOURCE:

A Canadian Tragedy: Humboldt, Saskatchewan

April 10, 2018

A Canadian Tragedy

What is a common bus route for many young Saskatchewan athletes turned out to be a tragic accident which affected a nation. As a result, the loss simply terrible, 15 people were killed in the crash.

The 15-people killed in the crash included many young players, their coach, a play-by-play radio announcer, an 18-year-old stats-keeper and a bus driver.

A Message from Custom Protect Ear

The Custom Protect Ear Team would like to offer our deepest condolences to the victims, their families, and the Saskatchewan Community. We extend our deepest sympathies and this message for you during this very sad time:

“In times like this, we remember who we are and how we show up for our families, our friends, and our community. To the Saskatchewan and Humboldt Broncos hockey community: We will stand with you as your neighbor, your friend and as Canadians. We offer you support and courage during this time of mourning.”

 

Deepest Sympathy,

 

Howard Raphael
President
Custom Protect Ear

db cares

 

A Canadian Tragedy: Humboldt, Saskatchewan

 

Happy Holidays from CPE

January 4, 2018

To all our Fellow Customers, Partners, Suppliers and Colleagues, 

A celebration of the holiday season is a gratitude for the gift of life. Here’s wishing you the warmest sentiments and best wishes of this season.

 

Happy-Holidays-[Converte

 

As President of Custom Protect Ear, my only request this year is, for all of us to work towards goodwill to our fellow man and PEACE ON EARTH! I personally wish you and your families a wonderful Holiday Season and a healthy and prosperous 2018.

 

Warm Regards, 

Howard Raphael | President

HOLIDAY HOURS

  • Friday, December 22nd – Tuesday, December 26th – Closed
  • December 27th December 28th &  December 29th – 9am to 4pm (PST) 
  • Monday, January 1st – Closed
  • Tuesday, January 2nd – Normal Hours 

Happy Halloween! Protect Your Ears!

October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! Protect Your Ears! `

Halloween brings more than just goblins and candy corn, it also brings FIREWORKS… It is very important that parents protect their children’s hearing as well as their own when exposed to LOUD Crackling fireworks.

How Fireworks Affect Hearing

Fireworks produce a sound output that is in the 150 to 175 decibel range. Each year, many people experience some damage to their hearing as a result of fireworks.

There are two things to note when considering whether or not fireworks will have the potential to cause hearing loss. First is the distance a person is from the sound source.  Sound is less likely to affect your hearing the further you are positioned from the firework explosion.

The second thing to consider is how loud the firework actually is. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure. For children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. If you are dealing with a firework that explodes at 170 decibels, you would have to stand 15 to 20 meters away before you are at a safe limit. Children would have to stand 50 to 60 meters away from that same firework. Infants should not be exposed to fireworks because they generally experience the greatest amount of sound pressure.

CPE-Halloween-

Whether you are participating in recreational or professional fireworks, hearing protection is encouraged in both situations.  You could be at risk of having some hearing damage.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

CPE Team


SOURCE: https://www.boystownhospital.org/knowledgeCenter/articles/hearing/

Hurricane Harvey

September 7, 2017
Residents of Rockport, Texas survey damage from Hurricane Harvey.

Tens of thousands of traumatized evacuees, many with nothing but the clothes on their backs, face uncertain futures in Harvey’s aftermath. Aid groups are working tirelessly to provide shelter, emergency services, and hope.

Help the Hurricane Harvey Victims

Donate blood: The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center desperately needs more than 2,000 units of blood. The biggest need is for O positive and O negative. A list of locations to donate blood can be found here.
Donate food and clothing: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking people to donate clothing, medical supplies, baby items, and food to nearby shelters. Feeding Texas is coordinating with local food banks to distribute food and cleaning supplies. The organization is asking people to drop off non-perishable food, bleach, and paper towels. The Texas Diaper Bank is seeking diaper donations.
You can mail them to:
5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas 78238 or drop them off at the same address.
Help with clean up: 
Austin Disaster Relief Network is asking for toiletries, inflatable mattresses, undergarments, and cleaning tools. They can be dropped off at the Hope Family Thrift Store in Austin. Volunteers can also sign up for cleaning efforts there. The Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group needs construction cleanup supplies — debris containers, truck cranes, forklifts, ladders, and nail guns.
Donate toys and supplies: 
Mayor Turner said many children inside the shelters need “things to do” and is asking people to donate coloring books, puzzles, and other toys to the shelters.

To all those so adversely affected by the wraths of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, our thoughts and prayers are with you – ProtectEar USA

Happy BC DAY!

August 6, 2017

August 6, 2017

BC Day

 

From all of us at Custom Protect Ear, Have Fun and Be Safe on BC Day
We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday. And don’t forget – Protect your hearing!

A Proper Executed Safety Program = Money Saved

June 29, 2017

Workplace injuries can cost our society around $128B in losses in a given year. This amount equals to 25¢ of every dollar in pre-taxed corporate profits.

(American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002)

safety plan

Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Program

Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Program will not only provide proper structure for safety but will also create long-term savings in an organization. Having a proper outlined safety guideline can provide essential benefits such as:

  • Reduce injury
  • Increase productivity
  • Create a safe work culture

Reduce Injury

“50 workers are injured every minute of the work week.” 

– American Society of Safety Engineers, 2002

A health and safety manager is responsible for ensuring that safety is an essential component of an organization. (Maine Department of Labor, 2013) Reducing injury in the workplace is imperative, as the people within the company are the vital elements that help steer the organization’s future.

Therefore, it is important to have a safety system with proper precautions. Without a system, avoidable injuries and costs can arise.  Examples of the costs that could be affected are:

  • Increased spending on insurance premiums
  • Increase in hiring costs
  • The added cost of re-training
  • Overtime to compensate for low workforce

The money that is spent on these avoidable costs could be invested into other aspects of the organization:  i.e. – enhancing the development of both the business and the people of the company. An example of where to invest would be: providing cost-effective personal protective equipment to prevent worker injuries. Personal protective equipment could include proper custom ear molding devices to protect hearing-loss, eyewear to prevent eye injury, headwear to protect your head, etc.

A lack of safety can lead to a loss of productivity, efficiency and time, in the long-run.

Increase in Productivity

“Developing a safety culture… increases employee productivity by 24% and reduces factory costs by 20%   

– SafetyLine, 2017 

increase-productivity

 

When an organization tries to find methods to cut costs (including bypassing a properly outlined and managed safety program), the assumption is that this will save money and time; thereby increasing profits. This type of action creates the opposite effect in the long run, as these workplace environments can be deemed unsafe and undesirable to work in. A decrease in productivity may occur as a consequence of injured employees taking time off from work. This can be a detriment to any company and needs to be avoided.

That is just one aspect of a loss in productivity when avoiding an investment in a safety. Other affected benefits may include:

  •  A lack of a high-quality working environment
  • A lack of good communications/relationships between management and employees
  • A lack of demonstrating that the company values their employees

When a working environment is at its peak morale, employees are motivated to work hard and be safe in their roles.  This provides the company with an opportunity to invest into other aspects of their business when people are productive and safe.

Create a Safe Work Culture

“Building a strong health and safety culture will have positive impact on your workers and public perception”

– Worksafe BC, 2017

Company culture creates an “aura” that is interpreted by society. When a company values safety as an organizational standard, potential and current talent sees this as a positive benefit to working for a company. When a company undervalues safety and health, it can create a poor reputation, pushing away workers. Employee morale can be affected, resulting in people leaving the organization. When a company is unable to fill positions, wages that are above market values are typically needed to attract talent. (American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002)

Engaging the workforce in health and safety practices; having a transparent and open health and safety program, and always wanting to improve the health and safety performance inside a company, provides a great return for any organization. Creating a strong health and safety culture demonstrates that employees are highly valued.

“Studies indicate that every $1 invested in a workplace safety program [returns] $3 – $10 in direct and indirect cost savings.”

– American Society of Safety Engineers, 2002

Workplace injuries can be costly

More than $40 billion are paid each year by employers and their insurers in worker’s compensation benefits; or nearly $500 per covered employee. (American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002) There is an initial investment when creating a safety program, but it will pay off in the long run.  A company may experience high monetary losses and workforce labor losses without proper guidelines. Safety is a major factor that should never be overlooked or ignored. Recognizing the value of a comprehensive health and safety program will ultimately save the organization money.

 


Sources

American Society of Safety Engineers. (2002, June 8). White Paper Addressing the Return on Investment for Safety, Health, and Environment (SH&E) Management Programs [Article]. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs/action/return-on-investment-for-safety/

Institute for Safety and Health Management (2014, September 4). Why Safety and Health Have Good Business Benefits [Blog]. Retrieved from https://ishm.org/safety-health-good-business-benefits/

Maine Department of Labor (2013). Managing Safety and Health [Article]. Retrieved from http://www.safetyworksmaine.gov/safe_workplace/safety_management/

SafetyLine (2017). Is Safety Productive? [Blog]. Retrieved from https://safetylineloneworker.com/blog/is-safety-productive/#more-2740

Worksafe BC (2017). Enhancing Health & Safety Culture & Performance [Article]. Retrieved from https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/create-manage/enhancing-culture-performance