Workers in New Jersey exposed to loud job environments could have more than hearing loss to worry about. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a study that has associated long-term exposure to loud noise on job sites with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These conditions represent the primary risk factors for heart disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.
A different study published in Occupational Environmental Medicine also identified a link between noisy workplaces and heart disease. A third study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reached a similar conclusion. Researchers said that noise produces stress and triggers the body's fight-or-flight response. Over time, stress hormones alter blood vessels. This damage puts people on the path to cardiovascular disease.
Hearing loss among workers caused by continual workplace noise already produces costs in excess of $242 million annually. The new information about noise and heart disease makes workplace noise an even greater concern for employers and workers. To mitigate sound hazards, employers could ensure that workers have hearing protection equipment. When possible, noisy equipment could be upgraded to new machines that make less noise. Sound dampeners, noise barriers and job rotations could also play a role in reducing people's exposure to harmful noise levels.
Hearing loss or other ailments caused by workplace exposures could be classified as occupational diseases. Workers' compensation insurance could cover the medical bills and disability costs for a person sickened on the job. An individual in this situation might want the assistance of an attorney when filing a claim for benefits because an insurer or employer might reject the claim. A lawyer might arrange for an independent medical evaluation and file a lawsuit to help someone who is entitled to benefits collect a settlement.