Three companies cited for hearing loss prevention efforts

NEW ORLEANS—Three of the nation’s largest companies were honored on February 23 for their exemplary record of providing a hearing-healthy environment for their employees. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced the recipients of its 2012 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™ during the annual conference of the National Hearing Conservation Association in New Orleans.

The awards single out companies that have shown dedication to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss through excellent hearing loss prevention practices in the work environment.

One of NIOSH’s Safe-in-Sound Awards went to Colgate-Palmolive, a global company with 35,000 employees in more than 200 countries. This was the first time the honor has been presented to an entire corporation. Colgate-Palmolive was commended for company-wide interventions including: adoption of the NIOSH-recommended 85-dBA limit for 8-hour noise exposures; adoption of inclusive criteria in its hearing loss prevention program; and completion of noise-control studies throughout each business unit to identify noise sources affecting worker exposure.

The 3M plant in Hutchinson, MN, the company’s largest manufacturing facility in the U.S., was recognized for its all-inclusive and strongly integrated approach to worker hearing health, including statistically driven noise-exposure assessments, implementation of a Buy-Quiet equipment program, and noise control for existing equipment. In addition, it was recognized for hearing protection fit-testing of all plant personnel and for making hearing protection devices available to employees for off-the-job noise exposures (e.g., hunting and target shooting).

The Safe-in-Sound award in the construction sector was presented to the Bechtel National, Inc., Waste Treatment & Immobilization Plant Project in Richland, WA, a construction site that spans 65 acres and includes four major nuclear facilities. NIOSH recognized the Bechtel facility for its comprehensive integration of a multi-faceted hearing loss prevention program; for innovative strategies to address challenges in the areas of noise monitoring, risk evaluation, and risk communication; and for adopting the NIOSH-recommended exposure limit of 85 dBA.

The deadline for nominations for the 2013 Safe-in-Sound awards is September 3. For more information, go online.