Recently, CNN reported on the plight of a disabled 55-year-old construction worker. After 32 years in the construction industry, the man was badly injured and barely able to leave his home. He was taking medications, but the pills and treatments were not helping to improve his quality of life.
His story was similar to the stories of many other construction workers, and likely does not come as a surprise to those who are aware that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous. What may come as a surprise, however, is that this construction worker was not hurt because of a fall or an encounter with construction equipment. Instead, the cause of his serious ailment was workplace hearing loss.
Workplace hearing loss is common, life changing, and very expensive to deal with. For workers who sustain hearing loss, their quality of life can change forever. If you are one of the millions of workers affected by hazardous exposure to noise at work that causes your hearing to suffer, you need to know your rights. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help you.
Hearing Loss is a Leading Cause of Atlanta Work Injuries
CNN told the story of the construction worker to illustrate the daily realities faced by the millions of workers harmed by noise exposure at work. There are more than 22 million workers in the United States who are exposed to occupational noise at hazardous levels in the workplace. Those most at risk are employees within the mining sector. Construction and manufacturing are also very dangerous industries for workers’ hearing. In many different industries, however, employees must go to work each day and cope with levels of noise that can damage their hearing permanently.
When a worker is affected by dangerous levels of noise, the consequences go beyond just having a harder time hearing what people say to him. Many, like the construction worker who was profiled, hear ringing in their ears and hear everything from lawn mowers to conversations as high pitched noises that hurt their heads. Dizziness, fatigue, and other problems are common. The impact of the hearing loss is so bad that many workers require costly treatment, and often are prevented from working. The cost of providing treatment and of lost productivity are substantial, with the Department of Labor estimating that $242 million on workers’ compensation costs each year are spent on workers who have disabilities due to hearing loss.
The Department of Labor is soliciting ideas for new technologies that could help to reduce hearing loss on-the-job. However, many safety advocates believe that part of the problem lies with the fact that the standards are not strict enough on the levels of noise employers can expose workers to. Efforts need to be made to provide true protection from damaging levels of occupational noise and, unless and until that happens, workers will continue to be harmed.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.