The Department of Labor has launched a new competition called the "Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge" to address workplace noise exposure and related hearing loss.
Investors and entrepreneurs are being encouraged to develop a technological solution to hearing-related workplace noise hazards which costs businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers’ compensation.
The dual goal of this competition, which is a partnership between OSHA, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and NIOSH, is to inspire creative ideas and raise business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation.
Idea submissions are due by September 30. Ten finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on Oct. 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.
- Technology that alerts workers when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss.
- Technology that allows 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 at https://www.dol.gov/featured/hearing.
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.