NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
927ZJKR - Communication of Best Practices in Hearing Loss Prevention (PHP)
Principal Investigator (PI)
Primary Goal Addressed
Secondary Goal Addressed
Attributed to Manufacturing
This project will develop communication products on the award winning strategies gathered through the Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ nomination process, distribute them and evaluate their use and adoption by the occupational safety and health community. The dissemination of evidence-based findings will enable other groups to effectively advance hearing loss prevention practice.
This project is contributing to the Manufacturing and Construction Sectors and to the Hearing Loss Prevention and Communications and Information Dissemination Cross Sectors.
Informational materials will be the intermediate outcome of this project. Users of the new products will also be able to critique and send input through the website. The distribution of publications and hits to the website will be monitored to quantify interest and evaluate its reach. NIOSH and NHCA will attempt to partner with prospective users of the new products and will be responsible for continuously checking and updating the selection criteria for the award based on the lessons learned annually with the nomination and selection process throughout the duration of this project.
A wealth of information on best practices for hearing loss prevention has been obtained through the award winning nominations.
In the current project, we propose to share this information, providing industry and other stakeholders with reliable and appropriately packaged information describing proven approaches in hearing loss prevention. To achieve this goal we will finalize communication materials, develop a social marketing plan and disseminate communication materials. In addition we will evaluate the Safe-in-Sound Award™ project from two perspectives: the impact of the award application process itself and the impact of efforts to publicize the exemplary hearing loss prevention methods submitted for award consideration.
Annually, businesses from the manufacturing, construction and services economic sectors will be invited to submit their successful experiences in hearing loss prevention and enter a detailed description of their initiative. NIOSH and its partner, the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) will coordinate the review process and technical site visits. Once a selection is made, NIOSH and NHCA will present the award in the Annual National Hearing Conservation Association Conference which happens in February. The award winners will be asked to present their success stories at that venue. During Fiscal Year 2011 NIOSH will develop communication products based on the award winning cases with a description of the key elements that contributed to the success story. Also in 2011 NIOSH and NHCA will then disseminate these real world solutions in meetings, publications and online. This campaign will be targeted towards an intermediary customer (health and safety personnel for employers in the same work sector as the award recipient) and a final customer (workers). In FY 2012 NIOSH will evaluate the use and adoption of the communication products put forth by this project.
It is estimated that 10 million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. In 2004 the OSHA regulations started requiring that changes in hearing thresholds classified as Standard Threshold Shifts (STS) to be entered separately as a recordable workplace illness on the OSHA Log Form 300 and reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In just the first three years of these reports, the BLS data indicate that annually, more than 20,000 workers suffer an STS which makes hearing loss the second most reported occupational illness in the manufacturing sector.
In its review of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Hearing Loss Research Program, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that NIOSH place greater emphasis on identifying the effectiveness of hearing loss prevention measures on the basis of outcomes that are as closely related as possible to reducing noise exposure and work related hearing loss. Once this need was identified by the National Academy, NIOSH funded a Public Health Practice (PHP) project that established an award for excellence in hearing loss prevention. The Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ was created in 2008 to formally recognize and disseminate the methods of organizations that have demonstrated excellence and innovation in hearing loss prevention programs.
In both health care and occupational health arenas, the recognition of benchmarks, awards, and incentive schemes are receiving increasing attention for their role in promoting excellence and adoption of preventive programs. In Taiwan, after 10 years of the creation of a voluntary compliance program for occupational health, dramatic reductions in occupational injuries and illness were observed in the worksites granted certification. Specifically regarding the prevention of occupational hearing loss, few awards or incentive programs exist worldwide. Some are incentives to control noise or chemical exposures; some are broader involving health exams and education initiatives. Little has been published regarding the effectiveness of hearing loss prevention interventions. This project will recognize companies that can demonstrate the effectiveness of their interventions and develop communication products on the award winning strategies gathered through the Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ nomination process, distribute them and evaluate their use and adoption by the occupational safety and health community. The dissemination of evidence-based findings will enable other groups to effectively advance hearing loss prevention practice.