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Buy Quiet

National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety

Quieter tools and machines lead to decreased hearing loss among the workers who use them.  So why aren’t companies “buying quiet”? Read more about the challenges in this area and what NIOSH is doing to make it easier to “buy quiet”.  Join the discussion on the NIOSH Science Blog.

NIOSH Gives Guidance on Reducing Noise Hazards for Call Center Operators

National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety


 Workers at call and dispatch centers may suffer hearing damage as a result of high noise level exposures through their headsets. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released recommendations to help workers deal with this problem.

According to NIOSH, call and dispatch center workers face:
• Acoustic trauma from sudden spikes in noise levels, such as feedback into a headset.
• Background noise from incoming calls, and
• Background noise from other workers and equipment, such as air-conditioners or heating systems.

NIOSH says many workers face exposure to noise levels between four and 18 decibels (dB) higher than the recommended exposure limit of 85 decibels, A-weighted, over an eight-hour average.

Many call center/dispatch workers interviewed by NIOSH reported ringing in their ears, headaches, irritability, increased tension and fatigue as a result of frequent exposure to loud sounds.

Workers who experience tinnitus (ear ringing), a dulled sense of hearing or fullness in their ears after a shift should speak to their supervisor and ask for advice.

NIOSH also recommends that workers:
• Avoid setting the volume control beyond the midpoint.
• Ask to try different headsets with improved protection or noise-canceling features.
• Clean and maintain their headsets periodically and replace them when they notice damage or decreased performance.
• Take advantage of breaks in quiet areas whenever possible.
• Ask co-workers to use lower volumes on sound-generating devices.

Read NIOSH document here:

Shortage of OSHA Professionals Coming Soon, NIOSH Survey Predicts

National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety

The warning confirms problems that are well known — students aren’t well aware of OSH degree programs, for example — and highlights funding cuts felt by academic programs that do not receive NIOSH funding.
•         Oct 24, 2011
A new report from NIOSH predicts that the national demand for occupational safety and health services will far exceed the number of professionals with the necessary training, education, and experience to provide them. The conclusion is based on a national survey.
While employers plan to hire at least 25,000 OSH professionals in the next five years, only about 12,000 new graduates are expected from the academic programs that fill the need. According to NIOSH, these hiring estimates include new or replacement positions.

“Robust businesses are essential for U.S. economic recovery and growth and, in turn, safe and healthy workplaces are a vital ingredient of any successful business plan,” said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. “The results of this NIOSH-commissioned survey suggest a troubling shortfall of professional expertise at a time when such services are most needed. NIOSH will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to identify and pursue ways to meet this critical training need for the 21st Century. The need for an adequate supply of trained professionals is particularly great, as we anticipate that growing numbers of older professionals will retire over the next decade and as new technologies continue to enter the workplace requiring specialized skills and knowledge. For more than 40 years, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, NIOSH has provided fundamental support for the academic programs that provide such training.”
NIOSH commissioned the survey in 2008 from Westsat, an independent research firm that designed and conducted it. The agency said the survey found that:
•  Degree programs in occupational safety and health have experienced declines in funding from university, college, and department sources, especially among programs that do not receive NIOSH funding.
•  Students who might be interested in an occupational safety and health degree face inadequate or limited financial aid and a lack of knowledge about these degree programs.
•  While employers generally are satisfied with OSH professionals’ level of training in their specific work areas, they would like new graduates to have training in additional relevant areas, including leadership and communication.

The report, titled “National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce,” is posted on the NIOSH website at and printed copies will be available later this year.

CAOHC Course in Nashville, TN November 9-11 2011

Workplace Integra is holding a Certification and Re-Certification course in Nashville, TN. We still have some room for you, so sign up today!

CAOHC Courses are approved and instructors are certified by the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). The 20-hour initial certification training is referenced in both OSHA and MSHA noise standards. It is designed to train personnel conducting hearing testing; implementing or supervising hearing conservation programs

The 8-hour course is required every 5 years by the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) for Occupational Hearing Conservationist to maintain hearing testing certification. The 8-hour refresher certification training is approved and instructors are certified by CAOHC. It is designed to provide updated information and answer questions that may have arisen over the past 5 years.

Topics in both classes include:

Review of anatomy, physiology and diseases of the ear
Review of sound measurement and noise exposure
Hearing testing using manual and automatic audiometers
Calibration of audiometer and requirements for test booths
Record keeping and OSHA 300 logging
Standard Threshold Shift (STS) identification and follow-up
Medical referral in hearing conservation program.
Hearing protection attenuation, fitting, dispensing and monitoring
Hearing conservation educational programs
OSHA occupational noise standard
Workers’ compensation
ADA accommodation

Materials Provided; A course manual with reference and working materials including many useful forms is provided. Practice audiometers and sample hearing protectors for fitting exercises are dispensed and made available to course participants.

Course Length, Time & Cost, Certification course: Held November 9-11, 3 Days: Days 1 and 2 (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM)
Day 3 (8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon) Course price: $565.00

Recertification course which is held on the second day in conjunction with the Certification course attendees is on November 10: 1 Day (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) Course price: $365.00

Mention Workplace INTEGRA when booking a room at the Hyatt Place Nashville/Opryland on Rudy’s Circle in Nashville for a special rate.

Call 888 WPI 0001 with questions or to register. You may also register on-line and pay by credit card at

OSHA to host stakeholder conversation on occupational hearing loss


Blog source:

OSHA will host an informal stakeholder meeting to solicit comments and suggestions on occupational hearing loss prevention.  The purpose of OSHA’s public meeting is to provide a forum and gather information from protective equipment and feasible engineering controls.  OSHA is holding this meeting as part of its commitment to work with stakeholders on approaches for preventing occupational hearing loss.  The meeting will take place Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Parties interested in attending must register online, by phone or by fax by the Oct. 27 deadline.  See the Federal Register notice for more information on the meeting and visit OSHA’s Occupational Noise Exposure Web page for background on health effects of noise exposure, warning signs of hearing loss and examples of workplace engineering controls.


OSHA extends comment period on proposed revisions to the occupational injury and illness tracking and reporting requirements


OSHA reopened the rulemaking record to extend the comment period on revising the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for work-related injuries and illnesses. OSHA is extending the comment period in response to a stakeholder request. Individuals interested in submitting comments must do so by Oct. 28.

Under the revised proposal, employers would be required to report to OSHA any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours. OSHA currently requires employers to report to OSHA, within eight hours, all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. OSHA is also proposing to update the list of partially exempt industries from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs. These industries received partial exemption because of their relatively low injury and illness rates. See the Federal Register notice for details on how to submit comments.

Solutions for Preventing Hearing Loss at Indoor Firing Ranges


The discharge of firearms in an indoor firing range produces peak noise levels that exceed the occupational health limits of 140 dB SPL. NIOSH recommends that workers and shooters who use a firing range as part of their occupation (i.e, law enforcement officers) wear double hearing protection (earplugs and earmuffs) as part of an overall hearing conservation program. Special attention must be paid to the use of safety glasses under earmuffs so not to create an acoustical leak and degrade the performance of the hearing protectors.
Exposure to high levels of noise can lead to the following:
• Hearing loss
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ear, which might be permanent)
• Stress
• Anxiety
• High blood pressure
• Gastro-intestinal problems
• Chronic fatigue

NIOSH would like to hear from you regarding your experiences working or training at indoor firing ranges. What prevention methods do you or your employer take? What has worked? What has not worked? Would you be interested in receiving more information or review other products from NIOSH on indoor firing ranges? More information is available in the NIOSH Alert and on the NIOSH Indoor Firing Ranges topic page.
—Chucri A. Kardous, M.S., P.E.

Here is the entire article that address lead exposure as well: