Recently we attended ASSE 2011 in Chicago (I love that town). This is the annual conclave of the American Society of Safety Engineers. There is a conference with classes on various aspect of safety engineering as well as a trade show with vendors offering various safety products designed to make workplaces less threatening. We were presenting our dB Blocker hearing protection solution (hearing protection that stays in your ears because you can hear through it) and it was interesting to hear what was being said to us.
Let me start by confirming that the best way to protect someone’s hearing is to not expose them to noise. Even persons with relatively quiet jobs can loose some hearing from medical or genetic causes but an absence of noise sure helps. Once we recognize that not every workplace is quiet we have to figure out how to protect those exposed. It is a fallacy that exposure to only the level of noise exposure acceptable to regulators we keep you safe. Based on physiology, exposure to noises over 80 decibels will cause hearing loss in some individuals. At 85 dB, the action level in most Canadian provinces, 25% of the people exposed could loose some hearing. The US action level for hearing protection is 90 dB (at 85 dB companies are supposed to start a hearing conservation program monitoring their employees hearing). Well Safety Engineers know all of this and still are searching for solutions to protect the hearing of their associates.
Here are what some of them re telling us.
“I’ve been given an open cheque to stop hearing loss but economically sound solutions are hard to come by”
“My boss wants us to maintain the safest workplace. I have his support to do what I need to do to protect hearing”.
“We have an aging work force and need to find a way to change habits and protect them”
” Every time our president visits one of our sites, the first question he asks is what safety topic did you discuss today. The second question is what did you discuss yesterday”
I’m writing about this because it is wonderful to hear the enthusiasm for ensuring associates are well protected at work, It is an enlightened perspective one that shows how far companies have come. If that’s not the philosophy at your company, maybe it’s time you thought about changing jobs. Companies that operate safe workplaces will survive and thrive. Others will be eclipsed and be taken over by those companies powered by associates who reciprocate the care the company offers them. Ensure your with a company that’s on the safety-wellness band wagon.