According to WorkSafeBC, 2014 test results have shown that workers in the province’s oil and gas industry at all levels are far more likely to suffer hearing loss than other industries. Their findings show that more than 36 per cent of oil and gas workers demonstrated signs of noise-related hearing loss.
Because that number is more than double that of other industries, officials at the agency fine that number alarming and they have indicated that they intend to look into ways to make sure employers in the oil and gas industry are taking seriously their legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers, including the prevention of noise-related hearing loss.
According to the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, all employers are required to monitor noise levels in every workplace and provide appropriate hearing loss prevention programs to all workers exposed to hazardous noise levels. In addition, all workers who are subjected to high levels of noise should be undergoing regular hearing tests, at least annually.
Despite these requirements, WorkSafeBC data suggest that only about 15 per cent of oil and gas workers who should have been tested in 2014 actually were tested. The data also indicate that hearing protection is insufficient in many oil and gas workplaces and is in need or re-evaluation by industry employers, in any case. Most troubling is that 27 per cent of young oil and gas workers who should be wearing hearing protection report doing so. They are concerned enough, employers should expect a crackdown.