This is a guest post by The CSA Group.

Workers in many occupational sectors – including oil and gas, mining, construction and others – often perform their jobs while exposed to high levels of occupational noise. It’s an accepted part of everyday work life, but is also recognized as an occupational hazard.

What’s not always clear is at what level it becomes a problem, or how many different issues it presents.

The risks of workplace noise

Welder at work

Long-term exposure to noise can result in both hearing loss and stress-related illness. And it can cause workplace accidents by greatly reducing a worker’s ability to hear critical communication or warning signals, and by impeding concentration. For these reasons, it is critically important to identify these hazardous situations and implement preventative measures to help protect workers from the adverse effects of excessive noise.

How to know when noise becomes a danger

A hearing loss prevention program is an important part of any organization’s overall health and safety program, and it starts with implementing procedures for measuring and declaring noise exposure.

Canadian jurisdictions outline specific occupational noise exposure limits and it is the responsibility of each organization’s management to know and apply these limits to their workplaces.

CSA has created several standards pertaining to workplace noise exposure – both for the identification of hazards and the measurement and control of noise. We’ve also created other relevant standards for hearing protection devices and workplace accident and disease investigation.

Hearing loss prevention

Carpenter at work

One thing is for certain – any threat to worker safety, including hearing, can be managed when the right processes and procedures are enforced. Luckily, employers don’t have to make this up on their own.

CSA Group will soon be launching a new standard – Z1007 Management of Hearing Loss Prevention Programs. David Shanahan, project manager for Occupational Health and Safety Standards at CSA Group, worked on the development of the standard and sees a real value for organizations looking to implement a successful and effective hearing loss prevention program.

“We are quite pleased to have Z1007 join our suite of Occupational Health and Safety management system standards”, says Shanahan. “This over-arching standard will serve to tie together the related subjects of noise control, hearing protection, and audiometry to give direction to employers, industrial hygienists, noise control engineers, and occupational health administrators on setting up well-designed hearing loss prevent programs.”

CSA Group works with businesses, organizations and code authorities around the world to help create a safer, more sustainable world for people and for business. Their services include testing and certifying products for safety and performance requirements, the development of leading-edge, consensus-based standards to support tomorrow’s technology, and the development of solutions to promote safety to industry and society. To learn more, visit http://www.csagroup.org/.