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BLS: Manufacturing, utility workers most at-risk for hearing loss

August 15, 2012

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Washington – Hearing loss rates among workers in the manufacturing and utilities industries have decreased in the past six years, but both rates remain more than 4 times that of private industry overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Between 2006 and 2010, hearing loss per 10,000 full-time workers dropped to 12.9 from 16.9 in manufacturing, and to 9.1 from 18.1 in utilities, a new article (.pdf file) from BLS states. In private industry, in which hearing loss accounts for about 12 percent of all nonfatal occupational illnesses, the overall hearing loss rate was 2.2 in 2010, down from 3.2 in 2006.

The single greatest subsector rate in 2010 was primary metal manufacturing (33.8), followed by air transportation (24.7) and food manufacturing (22.9).

The article, published in the July edition of BLS’ Monthly Labor Review, also details other studies into hearing loss and outlines recent OSHA efforts to help reduce the risk.

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