The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and partners are presenting the 2022 Safe-in-Sound Awards in the areas of both audio engineering and manufacturing, with Live Sound International — ProSoundWeb technical editor Michael Lawrence joined by Jamie Anderson and Rational Acoustics in taking honors for Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevision.
Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman St. Augustine Site will be presented with the award for Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention, with the recipients to be recognized at the National Hearing Conservation Association 46th annual conference on February 11.
Although two very different companies, both recipients were chosen for being real world examples of successful hearing loss prevention initiatives in fields where work conditions can lead to hearing problems.
The Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is given to individuals or organizations for any new or unique approaches to hearing loss prevention. Rational Acoustics, Michael Lawrence, a senior instructor and product manager for the company, and Jamie Anderson, president, owner, and director of training, will receive the award.
The group’s sound system analysis tool, Smaart, has been the industry standard platform for system measurement and alignment in the live events industry since its introduction in 1995. Smaart SPL, an advanced version of the tool introduced in 2020, was developed to equip live sound engineers with the necessary tools to measure sound level and manage sound exposure risk for live sound mixers, event crew, and concert attendees.
“Rational Acoustics took a technology that people didn’t understand or trust, brought it into common adaption, and developed accepted workflows and methods,” says Lawrence. The company’s outreach activities offer education and guidance on how to improve sound quality while managing risk.
The Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is given to companies who exceed normal expectations to protect their workers’ hearing, incorporating prevention measures into daily work practice. Northrop Grumman St. Augustine Site, a manufacturing center located in Florida, is an example of these practices. The company demonstrates a strong safety culture by:
· implementing noise controls;
· adopting buy-quiet strategies in the purchase of new equipment and tools;
· providing several alternatives of hearing protection devices, hearing protection fit-testing, and state-of-the art communication-enhanced electronic hearing protection devices as needed;
· carefully reviewing and analyzing audiometry results aiming to identify early changes in hearing, and finally;
· continuously improving their training to ensure relevance. Employees at all levels are engaged in the initiatives.
The Safe-in-Sound awards are a product of a partnership between NIOSH, the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) and the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC), and have been presented annually since 2009.
The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2023 awards is July 15, 2022. Guidance to nominate others or oneself can be found on the Safe-in-Sound website. Go here to find out more about the awards, read about past winners and watch a recording of this year’s award ceremony.