Beyond Training: Motivating Employees to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Beyond Training: Motivating Employees to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

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In occupational Hearing Conservation Programs, OSHA requires employers to provide annual “training” to employees on specific topics. But that required training focuses on providing only information.

 
The path to a successful occupational hearing loss prevention program requires employees who are motivated to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
 
Here are some helpful tips how to “motivate to prevent” noise-induced hearing loss(NIHL), based on our experience training and working to motivate thousands of employees in companies around the U.S. (and the world) in the importance and personal practice of Hearing Conservation.
 
Let’s start with Tip #1: “Make It Personal.”
 
Make It Personal
 
One of the important things to do with the message of workplace safety in general, and hearing conservation in particular, is to make is personal. Make each employee responsible. Empower them to believe that they have to be a safe person today – and the next.
 
What do people say when they come out of the audiometric test booth? “How’d I do?” They want to know how well they performed on their annual audiogram. Well, that’s a teachable moment. Safety managers can work with their audiometric service provider to educate the employee on the results of their audiogram, and on how to wear their protection properly.
 
NIOSH has a free fact sheet titled “Inquiring Ears Want to Know”. It explains how to read an audiogram, how to wear hearing protection, and what causes hearing loss.  When an employee exits the booth and asks how he/she did, the technician is likely going to give him a lot of information in those few minutes before he goes back to work. To the worker, this deluge of information may seem as if they are drinking from the fire hose. Having such a fact sheet to take with them to share with their family and explain what an audiogram is about can be helpful.
 
Another way to make it personal is to incorporate earplug fit-testing to measure the “Personal Attenuation Rating” (PAR) for individuals.  Fit-testing for hearing protection is a new technology in the fit-testing of personal protective equipment (PPE), similar to respirator fit-testing. Ear plug fit-testing provides the user with immediate feedback as to whether they are properly wearing a given hearing protector and that it offers appropriate protection for their noise exposure.
 
 
Next: “Share the Personal Experience”
Blog Author:  Theresa Y. Schulz / Ph.D Lt. Col. USAF (ret.)  
Blog Catagories:  Motivation  

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