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Injured workers: Can maker cited for causing hearing loss

Many workers nationwide, including in New York, are exposed to excessive noise levels on the job every day. A spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration put the annual number of injured workers following exposure to hazardous noise levels at 22 million. He also said exposure to sustained high levels of noise damages the nerve endings in the inner ear and could lead to irreparable, permanent hearing loss.

A manufacturer of industrial and decorative tins in a neighboring state was inspected some time ago, and federal inspectors noticed the extreme noise levels throughout the facility. This led to a full investigation into the company's compliance with all safety regulations. Investigators determined that, although the business owners were aware of the regulated steps that must be taken to protect the employees from hearing loss, no effort was made to comply.

Reportedly, the company lacked a program for hearing conservation. Along with providing each worker with ear protection and monitoring the use of it at all times, annual hearing tests must be done for all employees. Those who have suffered hearing loss must be accommodated and retrained. Accident victims must be sent for medical examinations.

Although New York workers may find comfort knowing that they can rely on workers' compensation benefits to help with medical expenses, the claims process is not without complications. Hearing loss is not the result of a single workplace accident, and because it usually develops over time, the part played by the workplace environment may be difficult to prove. Injured workers suffering hearing loss may have left the employ of the company Where the damage occurred years ago. Such complicated claims are best navigated by an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: dailyrecord.com, "Parsippany can maker cited for noise hazards", Oct. 6, 2016

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