Pennsylvania residents who lose their hearing as a result of their occupations may be interested to know they might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 22 million people are exposed to dangerous levels of noise in the workplace each year.
People in the mining industry are most likely to suffer from hearing impairment, followed by construction and manufacturing workers. In an effort to cut down on hearing loss in the workplace, the U.S. Department of Labor is seeking ideas and technology to increase worker awareness of hazardous noises. Critics say that rules to protect workers’ hearing already exists, but that the noise level at which protective gear is required is too high. Employers also can do more to educate workers about hearing-related workplace injuries since workers may not be aware of the need for protective gear.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide protective ear gear if workers spend eight hours a day with an average noise level of 85 decibels. The noise limit is increased to 90 decibels for construction workers.
Hearing loss usually doesn’t just happen overnight for workers. Noise levels have a cumulative impact on hearing-related workplace injuries. A person who develops an occupational hearing loss may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits and possibly Social Security Disability benefits. Those who are in this position may want to have legal assistance throughout the claims process.