"Research into more effective ways to prevent loss of hearing in South African mine workers who are exposed to high levels of noise underground is currently being conducted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most prevalent occupational injuries in the South African mining industry.
CSIR researcher Anita Edwards says that mine workers are prone to hearing loss owing to noise created by machinery used underground in jobs such as drilling, winch operating, locomotive motors and others.
"In general, there are high-noise levels underground, mainly from the equipment used by workers," explains Edwards.
Loss of hearing severely impacts on workers' ability to earn a living and function in social relationships, resulting in diminished quality of life and added pressure on social support systems, reports the CSIR.
Further, it has a negative economic effect, as it is the most compensated occupational injury in the South African mining industry.
More than R448-million in settlements were paid to 43 818 mineworkers, between 1998 and 2003, as a result of NIHL.
The CSIR reports that this amount excluded costs for lost shifts and production, replacing lost skills and rehabilitating injured employees.
It is therefore important to conduct research and devise practical measures to prevent hearing loss in the mining sector, states Edwards." (Continued via Engineering News) [Ergonomics Resources]