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NIOSH Releases New Noise Research for Service Sector Workers and Ways to Prevent Occupational Hearing Loss in Puerto Rico

Zimmetry Environmental offers industrial hygiene surveys to identify exposure risks to noise and ototoxic chemicals to protect workers and provide OSHA compliance solutions for employers.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in Puerto Rico and across the rest of the United States.

New research was recently published from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) about the prevalence of occupational hearing loss among noise-exposed Services industry sector workers. This part of the economy, which happens to be the largest employment sector of the U.S. industry, was found to have an elevated risk of hearing loss.
NIOSH researchers examined audiograms for 1.9 million noise-exposed workers across all industries, including audiograms for 158,436 Services workers, and found the following:

  • The prevalence of hearing loss within Services was 17%, very close to the prevalence of all industries combined (16%).
  • However, many sub-sectors greatly exceeded the overall prevalence by large percentages (10-33% higher), and many had high risks for hearing loss.
  • Workers in Administration of Urban Planning and Community and Rural Development had the highest prevalence (50%), and workers in Solid Waste Combustors and Incinerators had more than double the risk, the highest of any sub-sector.
  • Some sub-sectors traditionally viewed as ‘low-risk’ also had higher than expected prevalences and/or risks, such as professional and technical services and schools. For example, Custom Computer Programming Services, and Elementary and Secondary Schools, had prevalences 35% and 26%, respectively.

 “Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in Puerto Rico and across the rest of the United States,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “It can occur due to exposure to noise and also chemicals. The good news is it is preventable. Noise surveys can identify risks, as can testing for occupational exposure to various solvents and other ototoxic chemicals. Surveys and testing provide the information needed to develop hearing conservation programs that engineer noise out of the workplace through the replacement of equipment, use of barriers or sound absorption, moving noisy operation farther away from personnel or enclosing operations. Administrative controls, such as limiting exposure times by rotating personnel in and out of loud areas and using personal protective equipment (PPE), such as ear muffs or plugs, are also solutions. For employers in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean, Zimmetry’s industrial hygienists conduct noise studies and worksite audits to identify and mitigate exposure hazards to sound and ototoxic chemicals. These services protect employees and help to keep companies in regulatory compliance.”
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their noise or other industrial hygiene, building science, indoor environmental quality, compliance and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies.  The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America.  The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Puerto Rico
 Industrial Hygiene
 Hearing Loss
 Occupational Health

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