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Hearing loss a threat to miners, oil and gas workers

Some New Jersey workers may be particularly at risk for serious injuries on the job. For example, workers in mining, oil and gas are especially prone to hearing loss. In some injuries, one-quarter of workers experienced symptoms of diminished hearing, while 30% of workers in others faced some kind of damage to their hearing, according to one report published by researchers. They noted that as many as 61% of all miners and oil and gas extraction workers have experienced some type of hazardous noise on the job. In addition, these industries also involve chemical exposure that can put workers at further risk of hearing damage.

Sand and gravel mining workers were some of the most likely to suffer hearing loss, with 36% having damage of some kind. Also, 31% of miners in uranium, radium and vanadium had hearing damage, as did 28% in bituminous coal mining and 27% in iron ore mining. Overall, 24% of workers exposed to dangerous levels of noise in the mining industry had some type of measurable hearing damage. Support workers were also at risk of dangerous noise levels. Coal mining support workers who were exposed to high noise levels were at double the risk of hearing loss compared to workers in comparison industries with little noise exposure.

Another 14% of workers in the oil and gas industry exposed to high noise levels suffered from hearing loss. In natural gas extraction, 28% had some level of hearing loss as well as a 76% higher risk of damage to their hearing than workers in less dangerous industries.

Workers may suffer serious injuries with long-term effects as part of their work on jobs in mining, oil and gas, construction or even office work. A workers' compensation attorney might provide advice to injured workers and help them pursue the compensation they deserve.

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