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Discussion:
fire alarms and workers comp.
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Hello all:
I developed tinnitus last year because of the new fire alarms installed in our building at the university. I filed workmans comp, went to doctor, went to the ear doctor, and none of them have any solutions. I want to get the firealarm in my office turned off, but the fire marshal at the university won't do it. The dB level in my concrete office was measured at 97dB and the fire alarm itself is at 104 dB. The university claims it meets osha standards and basically told me to screw off.

Has anyone ever filed for ADA status with this? I'm considering doing this to get my office fire alarm turned off. I'm scared to work in my office or even be in the building now. I already found out that workers comp exists primarily to protect the employer; is ADA status any better? Has anyone here ever hired a lawyer to deal with their tinnitus?

I'm tired of this constant ringing, but of course everyone just treats me like I'm whining and causing trouble. Thanks for your help!
Posted on 01/29/11, 04:25 am
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Reply #1 - 01/29/11  8:43am
" FA,
Welcome to this group. I expect you will find some good support and get some good information here. One of the first things you may want to consider doing is buying some well fitting ear plugs for example musician's ear plugs. You can carry them with you, and put them in when you need a break from the decibel level, whether you are out around town, or at work. The idea that you have them with you and they are available may help you relax some. Several members of this group own a pair, and you can find out more by searching this board for info on musician's ear plugs.

If the noise level is consistently at 97, that sounds like a problem. The OSHA website contains the following information about monitoring requirements for noisy workplaces...in paragraph 1910.95(d)(1)

"When information indicates that any employee's exposure may equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels, the employer shall develop and implement a monitoring program."

http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owa...

If the fire alarm only goes off occasionally, most would probably recommend that you put in your ear plugs, or put on other hearing protection, and cover your ears if needed, and get as far away from the alarm as you can.

Keep us updated on any progress you are making in your research, and your adjustment to your condition and work situation. "
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Reply #2 - 01/30/11  8:50pm
" I don't see how you stand it. The advice you have gotten is good advice and needs to happen right away. I hope you will follow up on the OSHA website. Please keep in touch. Friends can be so helpful. I am going to Mayo and will report to you what they have to offer.
Ginny "
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Reply #3 - 01/30/11  9:32pm
" Good luck with WC! I developed tinnitus after having a WC ordered MRI plus I was on a walkie talkie cell phone 10 hours a day for work, and now have meniere's disease and a severe hearing loss but my work says it's NOT work related!
I carry earplugs now even tho I only have 30% hearing and mainly read lips. I have reactive tinnitus so the louder things are around me, the louder the T gets...but u can learn how to cope. Better than being miserable all the time.
Good luck and keep me posted. "
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Reply #4 - 02/01/11  12:29am
" I got a workers comp award for hear loss and tinnitus. But I had long term exposure to hi db levels and a damn good attorney. I also happen to have quite a bit of experience with fire alarms and the fire and building code. I would not expect that you will get the fire alarm in your office turned off. You are much better off to spend your efforts protecting yourself from noise exposure. 97 db in an office setting sounds kinda high. Is that typical for an office setting? Hearing protection is necessary. "
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Reply #5 - 02/01/11  12:39pm
" Hello all: Thanks for your comments. It's the OSHA standards that the university is quoting to say it's ok to blast my ears out. They put an alarm in every room even though it's not required and the 97dB alarm sound level is well above the 65 dB required by law.

Perhaps I need a lawyer to get compensation from workman's comp. It became apparent to me that workers comp exists primarily to protect the employer's liability and they are not about to compensate me for permanent damage unless forced to. I'm wary of applying for ADA since my best response is to get a new job.

And some notes on dB that most people don't realize. The decibel scale is a log scale in tenths. Every increase of 3 is a doubling of the sound pressure power level; every increase of 10 is an increase of 10 in the power level. Ambient levels are around 40db.

Thanks to all of you! "

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