OSHA seeks ideas for ‘Hear and Now — Noise Challenge’

Agency looking for technology solutions to improve worker hearing protection

Posted August 4, 2016

OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), have launched the ‘Hear and Now — Noise Safety Challenge’ with the dual goals of inspiring creative ideas and raising business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation.

According to OSHA, every year, 22 million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards. Hearing loss disability costs businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers’ compensation.

Idea submissions are due by September 30. Ten finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on October 27 in Washington D.C. The event will feature investors, representatives of the NIOSH Research to Practice Program, and representatives of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The competition is open to all ideas related to occupational hearing protection. Suggested topics include technology that will:

  • Enhance employer training and improve effective use of hearing protection.
  • Alert workers when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss.
  • Allow workers to hear important alerts or human voices while remaining protected from harmful noise.

More information and a link to submit ideas can be found on the Department of Labor (DOL) website.

The competition is open to the general public, including OSHA contractors and special government employees. However, employees of federal OSHA, “state plan” states, and on-site consultation programs are not eligible.

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