hearing lossNIOSH and its partners are in the process of creating a "Buy Quiet" web tool aimed at helping employers reduce hazardous noise levels at their worksites through the procurement process.

A recent post on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Science Blog explains how the tool is being developed, and how it will be used.

"The process encourages a purchaser to compare the noise emission levels of differing models of equipment being purchased and, whenever possible, purchase the quieter model," write Heidi Hudson, MPH, and Chuck Hayden, MS, PE. Lt. Commander Hudson is a Health Communications Officer and Capt. Hayden a Research Acoustical Engineer in NIOSH's Division of Applied Research and Technology.

"Buy quiet" provides an easy and effective method for an employer to demonstrate a commitment to the use of the best available technology to reduce the number of workers suffering from, or at risk of, occupational noise-induced hearing loss."

Hudson and Hayden say that buying quiet shifts responsibility onto the manufacturers of the machinery and equipment being purchased and used. Currently, the availability of quieter tools and machines is limited "and making products quieter is a tough sell in industry."

Due to the high rates of noise-induced hearing loss in the construction and manufacturing industries, the Buy Quiet web tool will focus on those industries, and will generate purchasing optionsand cost-benefit calculations, and update inventories as new equipment is purchased and older equipment is retired.

Hudson and Hayden cite two goals for the Buy Quiet tool:

1.Increase the demand for quieter equipment and machinery by the construction and manufacturing industry; and
2.Motivate manufacturers to provide quiet equipment.

NIOSH is seeking input on the project. To leaave comments or read the entire blog post, click here.