Construction sites can be very noisy places”kind of like a Rolling Stones concert, but much longer in duration. A lot of the equipment we use on a regular basis in the construction industry can produce sufficient levels of noise to cause hearing loss when a worker is exposed to that noise for extended periods of time. Complicating this loss of hearing is the fact that the loss comes over an extended period of time. A worker who cannot hear may be in more danger on the job site. He also may develop tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears), increased stress levels, and increased blood pressure. The ability to hear what is happening around us is an important part of working safely.
Noise levels are measured in decibels (dBA). The scale used for measuring decibels is a bit like the scale used to measure earthquakes. The noise at 73 decibels is about 2 times louder than the noise at 70 dBA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed rules regarding how long a worker can be exposed to noise levels before hearing protection becomes mandatory.