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ACOEM issues two guidance documents: occupation hearing loss; managing workplace fatigue

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has released the following documents:

Occupational noise induced hearing loss results from continuous or intermittent noise exposure and duration and develops slowly over several years. The ACOEM Objective Force on Occupational Loss Of Hearing has revised its 2003 direction statement on the bases of the most recent scientific awareness. It outlines the part occupational and environmental medicine medical professionals might play to shelter employees from needless loss of hearing. Workers with noise induced hearing loss may experience "significant morbidity," according to ACOEM, thus driving up Workers' Comp costs. Hearing loss can also impact worker communications and safety -- of themselves and their coworkers.

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The most effective method to minimize worker fatigue is through the development of a comprehensive fatigue risk management system (FRMS) recommends ACOEM in a new guidance document on fatigue risk management. But risk assessment and key mitigation measures as part of a fatigue risk management system can help.

Components of an FRMS system can include maintaining a fatigue management policy and implementing fatigue risk management, which includes collecting information on fatigue hazards, analyzing its risk, and initiating controls to mitigate the risks.

It also can include developing a fatigue reporting system for employees; conducting fatigue incident investigations; conducting fatigue management training and education for employees; and establishing a process for internal and external auditing of a FRMS that helps implement corrective actions through a continuous improvement process.

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