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Course 751 - Hearing Conservation Program Management

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Program Benefits

Introduction

When a company has an effective hearing conservation program, everyone wins - the employers, the employees, and the safety and health professionals who implement the program. The primary benefit of a hearing conservation program is that it prevents occupational hearing loss and the resulting disability. Other benefits include more effective communication between employees and management which improves the quality of production. Other benefits include:

  • reduced injury and illness rates;
  • reduced stress and fatigue related to noise exposure;
  • increased work efficiency;
  • an overall higher quality of life for employees; and
  • reduced direct/indirect costs.

This module discusses the many benefits gained when an effective and efficient hearing conservation program is developed and deployed in the workplace. An effective HCP consistently prevents hearing loss in the workplace. The HCP is efficient when it prevents hearing loss in a practical and cost-effective manner.

1. What is the primary benefit of a hearing conservation program?

a. It reduces stress and fatigue
b. It prevents hearing loss and disability
c. It reduces direct/indirect costs
d. It increases work efficiency

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The Costs

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An effective hearing conservation program will help your organization realize savings.

More than 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. U.S. business pays more than $1.5 million in penalties each year for not protecting workers from noise.

While it's impossible to put a number to the human toll of hearing loss, an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers' compensation for hearing loss disability. Compensation payments may reach $27,000 and more. The cost of paying out workers' compensation claims far outweighs the relatively minor costs associated with developing engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment.

Workers' compensation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is likely an underestimate of the actual frequency of occupational illness, representing only the tip of the iceberg.

2. How many workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise in the workplace?

a. Around 10 million
b. More than 22 million
c. Up to 55 million
d. At least 120 million

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Employer Benefits

An effective hearing conservation program costs money to implement, but the investment will produce many benefits:

  • It promotes good labor relations because employees know that management is concerned, and this type of concern may translate to improved productivity and product quality.
  • An effective program results in lower workers' compensation rates, and related injury and illness costs.
  • For complex jobs and those requiring concentration, studies show that greater accuracy of communications is linked to lower noise levels.
  • Studies of noisy workplaces that employers that have implemented hearing loss prevention programs show reductions in accident rates, illnesses, and lost time.
  • Higher morale is an important employer benefit that leads to greater employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Employers who take the appropriate preventive action now will greatly reduce the risk of future claims.
  • Companies that encourage employees to take their hearing protection home to use reduces the possibility of illegitimate work-related claims.
  • Companies that place a high value on safety and health maintenance will reward the performance of managers responsible for hearing conservation programs.

3. All of the following are employer benefits of an effective hearing conservation program EXCEPT _____.

a. lower workers' compensation rates
b. lower direct and indirect injury costs
c. more complex jobs
d. higher improved labor relations

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Employee Benefits

Employees enjoy many benefits from an effective hearing conservation program, including:

  • The hearing conservation program's most obvious benefit to employees is that it saves their hearing and the ability to communicate.
  • A good hearing conservation program can identify minor changes in hearing, and prevent deterioration to the point where it is permanent.
  • An effective hearing conservation program enables employees to sustain their hearing ability and thus continue to qualify for jobs (perhaps higher level) that have such requirements.
  • Employees in companies with effective hearing conservation programs report they generally feel better and less tired or irritable.
  • Employees report they also report that they are no longer bothered by temporary reductions in hearing ability at the end of the day, or by the tinnitus (ringing in the ears) that often accompanies the development of noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Noise reduction and maintenance of hearing sensitivity help employees hear alarms and malfunctioning machines.

4. The most obvious hearing conservation program benefit to employees is that it _____.

a. keeps employees free from permanent hearing loss
b. does not require employees to wear earplugs
c. saves hearing and the ability to communicate
d. allows employees to hear in noisy environments

Check your Work

Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.

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