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Focus on Safety:


Hearing Loss PREVENTION


The largest single category of contribution to recordable illness in metalcasting facilities is hearing loss, and more can be done to reduce its occurrence. TED SCHORN, ENKEI AMERICA INC. (COLUMBUS, INDIANA)


H


earing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S., more prevalent than


diabetes or cancer. Over 22 million people in the U.S. are affected, account- ing for 13% of the working population. Industrial noise exposure is by far the


leading cause of hearing loss, with three primary industrial sectors responsible: mining, construction and manufactur- ing. Among the manufacturing sector, the foundry industry is a leading contributor, according to report of the NIOSH Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project (2003-2012).


According to the study, “Economic


Impact of Hearing Loss and Reduc- tion of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the U.S.,” an estimated 20% of all hearing loss in the U.S. is connected to industrial noise exposure and if this to be prevented, the economic benefit would be substantial—between $58 billion-$152 billion.


In understanding the statistics associated with hearing loss and foundry industry contribution, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides helpful information. While traumatic hearing loss is considered a recordable injury, gradual hearing loss is considered an illness. Other recordable illness categories include respiratory problems, dermato- logical (skin) problems and poisonings. Figure 1 illustrates the rate of recordable illness over the years 2004-2015 (the latest available data-year) for all private manufacturing, the general foundry clas- sification in the NAICS coding system and for ferrous and non-ferrous found- ries (excluding die casting). By far the largest single category


Fig. 1. Data for the rate of recordable illness for four industry classifications is shown. The data is collected from Table SNR08, Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov


20 | MODERN CASTING August 2017


of contribution to recordable illness is hearing loss. Hearing loss is a recordable illness


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