It’s official: construction jobsites are some of the most dangerous places in the world to work. Nearly one in five on-the-job deaths involve construction work zones. Jobsite safety programs are vital to prevent accidents and to protect workers, the public, equipment, and property.
One jobsite safety hazard that deserves attention is excessive noise. Employees in industries like public works, drilling, towing, and construction are often unaware that they are routinely at risk from dangerous sounds, since most accidents and deaths result from falls, electric shock, trench collapse, and impacts.
High Noise Risks and Jobsite Safety
Noise is a jobsite safety concern for several reasons. It can cause short-term and long-term noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), disrupt communications, increase anxiety, and drown out alarms and warning shouts.
Wearing earmuffs or foam earplugs addresses only one facet of noise danger. To protect you and your team completely in a high-noise environment, you need a solution that protects hearing, integrates wireless communication, and allows workers to hear what’s important to maintain optimal situational awareness.
For this list, we define dangerous noise as the loudest sounds you might be exposed to on a jobsite. All measure greater than 100 decibels (dB). OSHA requires hearing protection to be used when working near any of these noises. At greater than 100 dB, you risk permanent hearing loss with regular exposure for a minute or longer.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Sounds
- TNT (1 pound, 15 feet away, 180 dB): Listen
- Sandblasting (125 dB): Listen
- Oxygen torch (121dB): Listen
- Air track drill (113 dB): Listen
- Gas chainsaw (110dB): Listen
- Pneumatic drill/Jackhammer (110 dB): Listen
- Compactor (108 dB): Listen
- Bulldozer (107 dB): Listen
- Power saw (105 dB): Listen
- Air impact wrench (103 dB): Listen
Other common jobsite equipment that pegs above 100 dB includes asphalt pavers, cement mixers, mobile cranes, and pneumatic riveters. All of these tools are dangerous if not used properly. But even then, they produce excessive noise. In many cases, it’s not about protecting yourself from what you can hear. It’s about protecting yourself from what you can’t hear.
What other dangerous sounds threaten jobsite safety? Give us a follow and let us know your thoughts in any of our social channels.
Learn more about Sonetics wireless team communication systems that keep your workers safe and productive. Meanwhile, my ears hurt from all of this sound research. I should have been wearing my Sonetics headset…
Sources of decibel data used to compile this list: