Workers at risk of hearing loss

Four in every ten workers in Madrid are at risk of suffering hearing loss due to noise exposure in the workplace.

The Spanish Labour Union, CC. OO, collected data from 845 companies in Madrid as part of the Preventing Workplace Hazards Programme in 2005. The data indicated that 38 percent of all employees are exposed to hazardous noise during the workday. Almost 14 percent stated they are surrounded by controlled noise at work, and 47 percent reported not being exposed to noise at work.

In spite of the noisy workplaces hearing loss as a work related injury is not officially recognized. Only 43 cases of hearing loss in Madrid were considered to be work related injuries, according to 2004 data.

These findings were presented at the symposium of Prevention and Control of Noise Exposure at Work, in October 2005, in Madrid. At the symposium it was emphasized that “noise is the most common risk factor in the work environment but the most invisible too. It is even considered as a necessary evil, mainly in the industrial sector”, wrote

Across Spain, almost 40 percent of all workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels in their daily work environment, according to the most recent survey carried out by the National Institute of Safety and Health at Work.
Noise is one of the main problems affecting the work environment in Europe. That is the reason for the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work “Stop that Noise” 2005 campaign intended to make employers and employees aware of the hazard of noise pollution. In addition, the agency is announcing a new European Commission Directive establishing 87 dB as the maximum permissible noise level allowed in the working environment instead of the current 89 dB.

Source:, 6 October, 2005

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