The "Hear and Now" Noise Safety Challenge
Recently, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) kicked off a very important initiative known as the “Hear and Now Noise Safety Challenge.” The Department of Labor has put the challenge out there for inventors and entrepreneurs to help develop the best technological solution to workplace noise exposure and hearing loss stemming from these incidents. Not only does this challenge work as the perfect way to inspire creative ideas, but also as a way to raise business awareness for businesses in new safety innovations.
The reason why they have worked on this initiative? Just take a look at the alarming numbers – 22 million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards each year. This causes approximately $242 million annually in workers’ compensation costs that could have been avoided. The initiative will help bring an awareness that has been needed since the start of these accidents. Now all applicants can submit their ideas by September 30. From there, ten finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to judges on October 27 in Washington, D.C. Investors, representatives of NIOSH, as well as representatives of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will all be attending.
The accepted technology includes the following:
- Technology that will enhance employer training and improve hearing protection matters
- Technology that will successfully alert workers when hearing protection is not blocking noise
- Technology that will allow workers to hear important alerts or voices when they are being protected from noise
It is vital to know that anyone from the general public is permitted to submit an idea for review. This includes those who are OSHA contractors and special government employees, so get your ideas in and see what happens! OSHA is excited to see what people can come up with while taking part in this extremely vital initiative.
Noise: A Serious Health Issue in Question
Many workplaces, as OSHA already knows, expose workers to workplace noise. Sometimes, however, this noise is in excess and can cause issues. Depending on how loud the noise is, it can do irreversible damage to an employee. OSHA stresses that workers understand that loud noise can cause hearing loss over a long period of time, or progressively. The people who may experience these noise levels on a higher level are those who work in factories, foundries, construction industries, around machinery, and more.
It is the duty of an employer, in many cases, to take action and help workers avoid too much exposure to loud noises. This is why employers should always assess the noise levels to the best of their ability to find out whether or not they are above levels necessary. They can also identify the problem areas that will help them take action and reduce these noise levels. If an employer does not make attempts to eliminate or reduce noise exposure and you end up losing your hearing as a result, you may have a case. This also includes employers providing hearing protection if they suspect the noise level is too high.
You can protect yourself from noises in the workplace in many ways. In fact, OSHA has been working on these initiatives for years to help employees stay safe in the workplace as well as protect their hearing from loud noises. Become a part of the effort and submit your design today in this very special opportunity!