Is it dangerous to use earbuds at work?
Listening to music can help get you through the day. A good tune can make you dance. A song can fill you with emotion, boost your energy or change the way you think about the world. When you listen to music on earbuds or headphones while performing your job, however, you can put yourself at risk of injury. Below, we outline reasons why employers should limit, or in some cases prohibit, the use of earbuds or headphones at work.
Headphones and earbuds on construction sites
OSHA does not prohibit the use of headphones to listen to music on construction sites and leaves it to the discretion of the employer, according to a letter sent out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers must provide hearing protection to reduce noise levels if a job site exceeds noise limits. Earbuds (the small devices that fit into ears) or larger headphones for playing music are not appropriate substitutes for hearing protection.
In the OSHA letter, which was described in an Occupational Health & Safety article, the agency states that employers can allow music listening devices, but they should consider whether the headphones will interfere with the awareness of potential hazards on the worksite. For example, a worker listening to music may not hear nearby heavy machinery or moving equipment that could pose a danger to his or her safety.
Hazards of listening to music on other jobs
While there is no specific OSHA prohibition against using devices to listen to music on the job, the U.S. Department of Labor has recognized that workers using dangerous equipment are at risk when using devices like earbuds to listen to music, according to EHS Today. Workers in some types of manufacturing jobs should avoid listening to music with headphones. EHS writes that certain manufacturing jobs may have electrical, heat, chemical and fire hazards. Workers who cannot hear audible signs of malfunctioning equipment are at risk of serious injury or worse.
Here are a few recommendations for earbud or headphone use in manufacturing environments, according to EHS Today:
- Employees in an operational area of a manufacturing facility should not wear music listening devices.
- Office workers may use earbuds, but should take them off if walking away from their desk.
- Employees should not wear earbuds or similar devices in an environment where hearing protection is required.
- Employees should not wear music listening devices over or under hearing protection.
How a workplace accident attorney can help
If you are injured at work while wearing earbuds or headphones, you may be wondering about your options. You may be worried your employer will blame you for causing the accident. You have rights if injured at work, however.
If your injury was sustained on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
An experienced Mississippi attorney at Tabor Law Firm, P.A., can answer your questions and help you fight for full compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.