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Deafness Most frequent occupational disease
Around five million workers in this country are exposed to heavy noise pollution in the workplace. With dangerous consequences for the health, experts warn on the occasion of the 1 "day against noise" at the 27. April.
For example, hearing loss due to persistent sound pressure above 80 decibels, dB (A), is currently the most widely recognized occupational disease with annually around 5000 new patients. Therefore, workers should insist on their statutory compliance with the company's protective measures recommend the experts.
"But hearing protection alone is not enough, as some people are Company erroneously mean. They have a more comprehensive duty of care to their staff, "emphasizes Martin Zeiml, who, as the owner of the AUS Umweltberatungsgesellschaft, advises companies in various sectors on occupational safety and environmental protection.
14 million sufferers
Currently, for example, 14 millions of Germans complain of disorders that can be attributed to noise pollution such as hearing loss, tinnitus or sudden hearing loss. But chronic noise is not just a matter of hearing. It can also lead to numerous other diseases as a constant stress factor.
Such as sleep disorders, depression, hypertension, myocardial infarction or stroke. In addition, the risk of accidents at the workplace increases significantly as the concentration of the employees decreases. This makes susceptible to errors.
What does the law say?
The so-called noise and vibration protection ordinance (2007) contains the most important regulations for noise protection for workers of all sectors. According to this, the employees from 80 dB (A) noise pollution (corresponding to loud rock music) must not only be given an unsupervised hearing protection, but the employees must also be informed about possible hearing damage.
In addition, they are entitled to appropriate occupational health care. "If the noise level is greater than 85 dB (A), mark the area in question with a warning sign where ear protection must be worn. In addition to regular occupational health check-ups, dedicated noise abatement measures are required to sustainably reduce the sound pressure, "says occupational safety adviser Martin Zeiml.
Which industries are affected?
Employees from the sectors of construction, crafts, metal-processing industry and logistics (especially airport areas and dock facilities) are exposed to particularly high noise pollution. These are on average between 95 and 130 decibels - roughly the volume of a busy highway or a starting nozzle jet.
But also with the entry of open-plan offices, office staff and call center employees. "In the past, offices were still subject to 55 or 70 decibel limits, which is comparable to distant aircraft noise. This was unfortunately waived in the new regulation.
Noise limit for office work
However, employees from the office sector can rely on the limit values according to DIN EN ISO 11690-1: They are at 45 dB (A) for activities with special concentration and 55 dB (A) for normal office activities, "says quality manager Martin Zeiml.
This corresponds to the hum of a refrigerator - so it is not the return of the silence, but makes concentrated work possible.
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