Waco Distribution Center Occupational Health Nurse Lisa Monda made this year’s mandatory hearing evaluations quick and easy by using a San Antonio-based mobile hearing bus to test and educate at-risk Exchange associates.
Monda collaborated with Precision Hearing Conservation to conduct a noise survey in 2018. PHC offered to oversee the Waco DC’s hearing conservation program and administer the annual tests required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
PHC provides a mobile hearing bus and certified technician to deliver hearing evaluations and counseling.
Monda scheduled testing for 55 associates in June—all of whom were evaluated, four at a time, in just one day. The bus also showed a short video with information about ear anatomy, the effects of hazardous noise and tips to prevent injury.
A ‘hit’ with associates
The first year of the PHC program was a hit with associates.
“They thought it was pretty neat,” Monda said. “They were pleased to get their annual test taken care of with such efficiency and convenience.”
In previous years, Monda would take several weeks to personally evaluate each associate. Associates would also complete a course on their risks and safety techniques in LEX, which took time away from the job and did not offer the dialog provided by PHC.
Regardless of delivery, Monda says yearly education and evaluation are essential to a safe, healthy workforce.
“The associate may not even realize they’ve lost hearing until the tests are done,” Monda said. “That’s why annual testing is so important—to catch hearing loss early and prevent any further injury.”
Culprits: conveyer belts, mechanic drills
Shipping and maintenance associates receive the greatest exposure to hazardous noise in the DCs.
This exposure—most of which is produced by conveyer belts and mechanic drills—can lead to progressive, permanent hearing loss.
Regional Loss Prevention Manager Michael Jones encourages all DCs to consider the effects of noise on associates’ hearing, even at levels considered safe by OSHA.
“The hearing conservation program is about more than compliance—the safety of our associates is an Exchange priority,” Jones said. “Lisa’s work to streamline annual testing and provide comprehensive education are paramount to the continued well-being of Waco DC associates.”