Workers urged to protect their hearing

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Photo: SafetyCulture Library

WorkSafe WA is reminding workers particularly those engaged in construction work to protect their hearing as some chemicals can cause hearing damage.

With one in five construction worker saying they have some problems hearing, WorkSafe WA reminded to protect their hearing as some chemicals can cause hearing damage.

According to the work safety watchdog, ototoxic chemicals affect the hearing system by entering the bloodstream either through inhalation, swallowing or through skin absorption. It then circulates through the blood vessels supplying the inner ear and damages the cells.

These ototoxic chemicals include solvents in paints, thinners, glues and degreasers, lead in old paint, solders or batteries, styrene in resins, and carbon monoxide in the engine exhaust.

Workers are encouraged to read labels and Safety Data Sheet (SDS or MSDS) to find out what is n the chemical products they use; to choose water-based products; follow safety directions for the chemical; discuss to employer about using quieter tools and using hearing protectors in noisy areas; requesting annual hearing tests if significantly exposed to any of the mentioned chemicals; and using earplugs or earmuffs when using noisy tools or attending loud concerts.

For more information, visit WorkSafe WA’s website or call WorkSafe through 1300 307 877.

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