New Jersey workers, regardless of their industry, can be the victims of excessive noise exposure. OSHA actually has a permissible exposure limit in place as a way to regulate noise exposure, but employers must do their part by setting up a hearing conservation program. As part of this program, employers must train employees on monitoring noise levels and provide them with the right hearing protection devices.
In cases where a singular hearing protection device is not enough, employees need double protection. The most common example of double protection is the wearing of earplugs and earmuffs at the same time. NIOSH states that workers who, over an eight-hour shift, are exposed to a time-weighted average of more than 100 A-weighted decibels should wear double protection. In the mining industry, workers must have double protection when exposed to an average of 105 dBA.
Calculating the level of protection provided by double protection is simple and based on OSHA recommendations. One takes the device with the higher noise reduction rating and adds 5 dBA to that number. Of course, the devices must be worn properly to be effective. On the other hand, workers should not wear double protection where there is the danger of not hearing certain warning sounds.
Hearing loss can be considered a work-related injury even though it may occur over time. Whatever the nature of an injury, victims can receive workers’ compensation benefits as long as they show that the injury was sustained on the job. While they do not need to prove that anyone was negligent, employees could still have the benefits denied to them if they themselves were to blame. This is one reason why victims may want to hire a lawyer. Should benefits be denied, the lawyer may assist with the appeal.