Effective prevention of hearing loss in miners; The Holmes Safety Association Bulletin - January 1999
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Effective prevention of hearing loss in miners; The Holmes Safety Association Bulletin - January 1999

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  • Description:
    In the October 1998 issue of the Holmes Safety Association Bulletin, NIOSH authors Mark Stephenson and Carol Merry wrote the article Hearing loss among miners and measures to protect hearing, which focused on the extensiveness of hearing loss among miners and the use of hearing protection to prevent hearing loss. While the primary importance of engineering controls in preventing hearing loss was discussed, since miners do not generally have control over their work en­vironment or assignments, the article focused on the importance of consis­tent use of hearing protection. In this article, all aspects of a compre­hensive approach to the prevention of hearing loss in miners will be covered. The discussions will do the following: • describe application of the hierarchy of controls in preventing hear­ing loss in miners, • give an example for each type of control measure and its impact, • explain the major provisions, be­yond the hierarchy of controls, of the recent NIOSH document en-titled Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupa­tional Noise Exposure, Revised Criteria 1998 relative to a hearing loss prevention program, and • summarize important points on control of noise exposure for every miner to remember, equipment in most facets of operations. Miners are well aware of noisy areas in or around equipment, icluding extraction machinery such as draglines, power shovels, longwall shearers, and continuous mining machines; powered haulage equipment such as load-haul-dumps, shuttle cars, large trucks, and continuous haulage units; roof bolting machines; jackleg drills and stopers; auxiliary equipment such as compressors, fans, and pumps; size reduction equipment, etc. They are not well aware of the insidious nature of pro­gressive hearing loss, which is per­manent, but they are generally aware of what levels of noise are hazardous and what measures can be taken to reduce their personal noise exposure. Behaviorally, however, there are many reasons why miners choose not to use hearing protection faithfully.
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