farm safety Sound advice worth hearing

Even gradual exposure to excessive noise can result in permanent damage.

This is caused in part by the many sources of loud noise on the farm: tractors, combines, grinders, choppers, conveyors, grain dryers, chain saws, etc. Prolonged exposure to excessive


noise can cause permanent hearing losses unless noise control measures are taken. Noise is unwanted sound. Noise is energy that can harm human hearing. Noise has at least two measurable

effects on humans: Hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent and can be measured. Physical effects that might include fatigue, tension, increased blood pressure and stomach disturbances. Too much noise can gradually damage your hearing. The damage may not be noticeable at first, but once it occurs, the hearing loss is permanent. The louder the sound the more

likely damage will occur. Noise- induced hearing loss is preventable, permanent and can get worse over time.

Sound is measured in decibels.

It’s important to understand the noise level of decibel you may be exposed to. Some decibel levels of common sounds include: 20 Soft whisper 65 Normal conversation 80 Tractor idling 90 Chainsaw idling 95 Grain auger 105 Pig barn at feeding time 120 Jackhammer Be aware of potentially damaging noise. If someone running a piece of

British Columbia Berry Grower • Fall-Winter 2017 21

arm workers experience one of the highest rates of hearing loss among all occupations.

employment. Make sure they are comfortable using the ear protection provided. If it is uncomfortable, doesn’t fit or is damaged, it should be replaced. More information on hearing protection and how to select it is available from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: prevention/ppe/ear_prot.html As well as wearing ear protection, there are other ways your workers can protect themselves and others: • Work smart to reduce exposure to noise.

• Plan your work to limit your time near noise.

• Turn off machinery when it isn’t needed.

• Use idle or lower speeds whenever possible.

equipment has to shout to be heard over the noise, they should likely be wearing hearing protection. Any noise that leaves you feeling nervous or fatigued or that leaves a ringing or buzzing noise in your ears is too loud for any length of time without hearing protection. If you provide hearing protection

to your workers (and you should if noise levels are excessive) you must insist they wear it as a condition of

• If possible, position machinery away from other workspaces.

• Let a supervisor know if a machine is making more noise than usual. It’s important to make sure that machines are properly maintained in order to reduce noise from friction or vibration.

— From the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association

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