33% of the workers in the oil and gas industry in British Columbia who had their hearing tested showed signs of hearing loss. The hearing loss appeared to be noise-induced (NIHL). This is more than double the 16% average for workers in noisy industries, WorkSafeBC writes in a report.
More than half of all workers in the industry are 35 and under. This means that hearing losses in these industries are not age-related.
Almost all the workers wore hearing protection. This implies that the hearing protection being worn is not working. WorkSafeBC writes that is might be because the workers are removing the hearing protection or wear them incorrectly, because more or better hearing protection is needed or that the noise levels are so high that the hearing protection do not really help.
Young workers risk their hearing
WorkSafeBC also found that young workers are not wearing hearing protection. 17% of the 35-and-under group reported that they did not use hearing protection, for the under-21 group the figure was 27%.
Even though the oil and gas workers worked in noisy environments, only a low number of oil and gas and pipeline construction workers had a hearing test in 2014.
WorkSafeBC writes that the hearing loss prevention programmes in the industry has to be improved.