Now hear this, bar employees
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 23, 2019 - BC Biz

Photo: @chairulfajar_, Unsplash

WorkSafeBC wants those in the service industry to be concerned about the risk of hearing loss.

The organization found that pubs and nightclubs in Vancouver and Victoria have noise levels higher than 95 decibels, which can cause hearing loss in unprotected workers.

“Noise is a serious and widespread problem in many workplaces, and this includes the service industry,” WorkSafeBC director of prevention services Dan Strand said in a press release. “Our research has found that most service sector workers and employers are not aware of the risk of hearing loss in their industry.”

WorkSafeBC recently distributed a safety bulletin to workers in the service industry, indicating ways to limit the risk of hearing loss and how much time can safely be spent in a loud area, depending on the decibel level.

WorkSafeBC understands bartenders and servers might be reluctant to wear ear protection, thinking they won’t be able to hear customers, but it says people can actually hear better with something in their ears.

“Studies show that when noise levels reach 90 decibels or higher, hearing protection actually improves your ability to hear speech,” Strand said. “We need to change how we think about hearing protection in the service industry.”

Here are other facts WorkSafeBC has found as it pertains to service industry workers and hearing protection:

• If noise levels exceed 85 decibels over an eight-hour shift, employers are required by regulation to have a noise control and hearing conservation program. Key elements of such a program include noise measurement, hearing protection and annual hearing tests for workers.

• Between 2008 and 2017, WorkSafeBC accepted 3,343 disability claims for noise-induced hearing loss in B.C.

• Each year in B.C., there are more than 2,000 hearing-loss claims where health care benefits are paid in the form of hearing aids and accessories.

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