The Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is an occupational health and safety award that was established in 2007 through a partnership between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA). This award recognizes organizations that demonstrate measurable achievements towards noise control and hearing loss prevention in the workplace. Noise-induced hearing loss is a prevalent work related illness and case studies show that substantial reductions in noise levels in the workplace can be achieved. However, there is very little evidence to show that implementation of stricter legislation can reduce noise levels in workplaces.
This award disseminates information of effective practices to a broader occupational safety and health community to encourage the adoption of evidence based hearing loss prevention. The winner, chosen by an expert committee, must incorporate evidence of effectiveness and familiar benchmarks of hearing loss prevention. The focus of this effort is documenting and highlighting effective interventions for the prevention of the negative effects of noise exposure and not regulatory compliance.
The Safe-in-Sound Awards are presented every year at the NHCA Conference. The inaugural awards were presented in 2009 and recipients included Pratt & Whitney and Domtar Paper Company for the manufacturing sector, Montgomery County Water Services (Ohio) for the services sector, and Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation, Inc. for innovation. Several of the award recipients have reported that noise control is a cost-effective primary preventive strategy, and that their results encouraged them to expand the adoption and implementation of noise control alternatives. Such approaches include “Buy-Quiet” and “Quiet-by-Design” initiatives. These are programs guiding purchasers to compare the noise emission levels of different models of equipment, and whenever possible, select the quieter model.
There are two main categories of Safe-in-Sound Awards: the Excellence Award and the Innovation Award.
The Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is meant to honor remarkable hearing loss prevention implementations in the workplace. This award was initially divided into three possible awards based on the sector the project is working with: construction, manufacturing, and service. In 2016, applications for the award started to be accepted from all industrial sectors.
The Safe-in-Sound Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevention Award may be awarded to individuals or organizations that address challenges in workplace hearing loss prevention in an innovative way. Consideration for this award may include advancements in the areas of policy, program development/implementation, and outreach.
The 2012 winner of the Safe-in-Sound Excellence Award in the Manufacturing Sector was Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate-Palmolive, the first company (in its entirety) to receive the award, was recognized for interventions such as an online training in noise control engineering, and company-wide implementation of the NIOSH recommended 85-dBA limit for 8-hour noise exposure. In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) highlighted this particular Safe-in-Sound recipient in their OSHA Technical Manual (OTM), which provides information and guidance on workplace hazards.
In 2016, the 3M Alexandria plant received the Safe-in-Sound Excellence Award in the Manufacturing Sector for their successful reduction of noise exposure within their facility (12-14 dBA across 24 departments). The initiatives implemented by 3M proved to be cost-effective, utilized Buy-Quiet principles, and resulted in 199 of 203 no longer being required to complete the 3M Alexandria Hearing Conservation Program.
- Buy Quiet
- List of occupational health and safety awards
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Health effects from noise
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- Verbeek, Jos H.; Kateman, Erik; Morata, Thais C.; Dreschler, Wouter A.; Mischke, Christina (2012-01-01). "Interventions to prevent occupational noise-induced hearing loss". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 10: CD006396. ISSN 1469-493X. PMID 23076923. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006396.pub3.
- Meinke D, Morata T, Hayden C. Noise Control Strategies: Lessons from Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™ Proceedings of the NOISE-CON 2013, 2013 August 26–28 Denver, Colorado
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- Morata, Thais C.; Meinke, Deanna (2016-03-09). "Uncovering Effective Strategies for Hearing Loss Prevention". Acoustics Australia. 44 (1): 67–75. ISSN 0814-6039. PMC . PMID 27397968. doi:10.1007/s40857-016-0044-9.
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- "Safe•in•Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award Archive". www.safeinsound.us. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- Morata, T; Hayden, C; Driscoll, D (November 2015). "National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health" (PDF). Prevention Through Design. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- "OSHA Technical Manual (OTM) | Section III: Chapter 5 - Noise". www.osha.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- "CDC - NIOSH eNews - March 2016". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- "CDC – NIOSH – Total Worker Health™ in Action – April 2013". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-14.