New Jersey Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Attorneys
Proudly serving all of New Jersey
Workers’ Compensation Is Available for a Hearing Loss Workplace Injury
Occupational hearing loss is a huge problem in jobs that have loud environments, and a devastating physical and emotional blow to the worker. We trust that our employers will protect us from jobsite injuries. However, that isn’t always the case. Working at a jobsite that is noisy, such as a construction site, poses a risk not only for outward injuries such as slip-and-falls but also for internal injuries like hearing loss.
Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, workers who suffer from job-induced hearing loss may be eligible to receive medical treatment, hearing aids, and compensation for lost wages on a temporary or permanent basis.
If you or a loved one has experienced hearing loss due to high levels of noise on a job, please contact our experienced New Jersey workplace accident lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. We have handled many similar claims for injured workers, helping them apply for and receive the money they need to get back on their feet. Take the first step towards a better future and call us today at (609) 240-0040 to receive a free, comprehensive case evaluation.
What Is Hearing Loss?
From our children’s laughter to a cellphone ringer, we are constantly bombarded with sounds every single day. Lucky for us, most of the noise we hear is at safe decibel levels, and not harmful to our hearing. But sounds that are too loud, even if brief, can cause noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss is damage to the inner ear or nerves, which diminishes a person’s ability to hear. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, and it can be partial or total. Minor damage doesn’t usually cause hearing loss, but a ringing in the ears called tinnitus. Severe or chronic damage means a person can’t hear at certain volumes or at all, and this can isolate him or her from the world and cause emotional damage, as well.
Jobs in construction, road drilling, mining, woodwork, car manufacturing, and the music industry have a high rate of hearing loss. To qualify for workers’ compensation for occupational hearing loss, the employee must have been exposed to the noise for at least one year, and at least 40 weeks out of the year, three days a week.
Is My Workplace Too Loud?
It is important to understand the red flags when it comes to a noisy work environment so that you can protect yourself from hearing loss. If you have a difficult time hearing people after you leave work, if you experience ringing in your ears after work, or if you have to yell to speak to a coworker who is close by, then you might be in an environment that is dangerously loud. As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, a volume level of 90 dBA is acceptable for an eight-hour shift. Workplaces with increased volume should have shorter shifts: 92 dBA means only six hours, 95 dBA only four hours, 97 dBA only three hours, and 100 dBA and higher drop down below two hours.
Is your employer taking a decibel reading every day? They should be.
How Can Employers Prevent Hearing Loss?
Employers must take the necessary precautions to ensure that their employees don’t suffer hearing loss while on the job. There are various steps they can take. As OSHA highlights, administrative or engineering controls are the best first line of defense against noise-induced hearing loss. That means reducing the noise levels, or reducing the worker’s exposure to the noise.
If low-noise tool options aren’t available, or an employer cannot isolate the noise from employees, employers must provide ear protective devices to employees. Employers should also limit how long loud machines are utilized, and ensure workers are not too close. And no, cotton balls are not a substitute for a protective device - these devices must be "fitted or determined individually by competent persons."
If you ignored or did not use the protective devices your employer provided to you, be warned - you would not be entitled to workers’ comp benefits for your hearing loss.
Nobody should feel unsafe while at work. Nobody should be in unnecessary danger while at work. Yet on-the-job injuries still occur on a daily basis. If you suffered noise-induced hearing loss while at work, our New Jersey workplace accident lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. will work with you to gather the evidence to prove a workplace injury to the workers’ comp board and attain the compensation you deserve. Call us at (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation.
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