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Health Risks At Work – A Focus on Hearing and Touch

Last month we highlighted the Health Risks at Work Initiative (HRAW) and discussed the importance of looking after muscles, bones and joints at work.

This month we’re focusing on hearing and touch.

Hearing

Noise pollution at work is a growing concern and The Noise at Work Regulations require employers to prevent or reduce the risk to their employees. If your workplace is exposed to high noise levels over a prolonged period of time, this can have a damaging effect on your hearing and result in temporary damage or lead to more permanent damage. Ringing in the airs, whistling and buzzing are all signs of hearing damage.

Employers can take steps to minimise the impact of hearing damage and ensure regular risk assessments take place including providing hearing protectors to those exposed to loud noises.

Touch

Many people at work are exposed to vibrations which can be a health risk. With prolonged touch and grip of a vibrating / moving object, this can result in hand or arm vibrations as well as whole body vibrations. A condition called Vibration White Finger can be due to damage and compression of the nerves in your hands.

Eliminating vibration at the source is key, and if this can’t be done then control measures are needed to minimise the effects.

The HRAW initiative has created a very useful Rapid Reference Card for those who suspect there may be a risk to hearing and touch in the workplace. Click here to read it.

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