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Buy Quiet Update

Categories: Engineering Control, Hearing Loss, Manufacturing, Prevention Through Design

buyquietSeveral years ago NIOSH started the planning process for a “buy quiet” initiative to encourage companies to purchase or rent quieter machinery and tools to reduce worker noise exposure. This initiative also aimed to provide information on equipment noise levels and promote manufacturers to design quieter equipment. NIOSH is now pleased to announce the official launch of our Buy Quiet web resources, complete with a website and educational materials. The new, easy to use materials highlight the benefits of a Buy Quiet program, explain how to establish a program in a workplace, and provide additional resources for finding quieter tools and machinery.

Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common work-related illness in the United States. Each year, approximately 22 million U.S. workers encounter noise exposures loud enough to be potentially hazardous. Buy Quiet can play an important role in protecting workers from these dangerous noise levels.

NIOSH’s Buy Quiet effort is part of the broader Hearing Loss Prevention Program, which conducts research on the causes of occupational hearing loss and works to deliver practical prevention solutions to employers. More information on NIOSH’s Hearing Loss Prevention Program can be found on the NIOSH Noise Topic Page.  Buy Quiet is also a specific application of the NIOSH Prevention through Design (PtD) Initiative.  PtD seeks to prevent or reduce job-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths through the use of prevention efforts in all designs that impact workers. Buy Quiet addresses this vision by decreasing noise hazards early in the life cycle of equipment and machinery, thus reducing the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Benefits of Buy Quiet include more than just reducing the risk of hearing loss at the worksite. Buy Quiet programs will minimize the impact of noise on communities and help companies comply with OSHA and other noise regulation requirements as well. Additionally, Buy Quiet may reduce the long-term costs of audiometric testing, personal protective equipment, and workers’ compensation.

The Buy Quiet Construction video builds the case for why you should Buy Quiet in the construction industry. Click the image below to watch this educational video.

An image from the Buy Quiet Video

Effective Programs

Buy Quiet can be carried out in a number of ways, but ideal programs may contain the following:

  1. An inventory of existing machinery and tools with corresponding noise levels. The company’s purchaser can use the inventory to compare noise levels of equipment before buying or renting. The inventory can also be used for assisting, tracking, and promoting a company’s Buy Quiet purchases.
  2. A Buy Quiet company policy or procedure. Policy can be an easy and effective way for employers to show commitment to protecting the hearing and well-being of their employees by using the best equipment available.
  3. Educational materials and promotional tools. These resources should be designed to help inform employees, management, customers, and the community about the importance and benefits of Buy Quiet. NIOSH has developed a series of posters for construction companies to post at their worksites. View and print posters here.
  4. Cost-Benefit Analysis of Buy Quiet programs. In many cases, the quieter piece of equipment is the least expensive when all life cycle costs of the machinery, possible workers’ compensation claims, costs associated with a company’s hearing conservation program, costs of healthcare (such as hearing aids), and lost productivity are counted.

What Can You Do?buyquiet2

We are asking you to help promote Buy Quiet by raising awareness among workers and employers about noise-induced hearing loss and by providing information they can use to encourage work-related safety. Be part of a nationwide effort to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.

Join us:

  • Get the word out! Put a Buy Quiet link on your website, an announcement in your newsletter, a post on your Facebook page, or follow @NIOSHNoise on Twitter and re-tweet us.
  • Print and distribute Buy Quiet posters and hang them at your worksite.
  • Promote, host, or sponsor Buy Quiet presentations. Contact us to learn more.
  • Reach out to new partners in government, labor, and industry and talk about Buy Quiet.
  • Assist with evaluating the effectiveness of Buy Quiet initiatives.

To learn more and start preventing hearing loss through buy quiet initiatives, please visit the Buy Quiet webpage or contact the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology, Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch, Hearing Loss Prevention Team at 513-841-4221.

Holly Poynter, MPH; Trudi McCleery, MPH; and CAPT Charles S. Hayden, MS, PE

Ms. Poynter is a student intern in the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology.

 Ms. McCleery is a health communication specialist in the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology.

CAPT Hayden is a mechanical engineer in the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology


Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. August 7, 2014 at 9:33 am ET  -   jose luis sanchez

    me parece un excelente aporte a la salud ocupacional, muchas gracias!.


    I think this is an excellent contribution to occupational health, thank you very much !.

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  2. August 7, 2014 at 9:43 am ET  -   Damon Schneider

    This is a great program. Thank you for developing it and the supporting materials. As an occupational health and safety professional with noise induced hearing loss I am a strong advocate for making the practical cost-benefit argument as well as highlighting the implications and impact to quality of life in the long term. This is a huge issue that needs this kind of attention.

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  3. August 11, 2014 at 6:46 am ET  -   dmsgdt

    It’s nice products of machine tools. I like your products.

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  4. August 19, 2014 at 5:52 am ET  -   Sandy

    Great products@NIOSHNoise

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  5. August 19, 2014 at 5:57 am ET  -   Sandy

    Buy Quiet is an American health and safety initiative to select and purchase the lowest noise emitting power tools and machinery in order to reduce occupational and community noise exposure.

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  6. August 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm ET  -   Kyle Tenant

    Great initiative ! My uncle (mother’s side) used to be a construction worker, specializing in demolishing. Working with a machine that constantly vibrates at hard paces, eventually gave him heart problems, so he quit the industry. Little to his knowledge, over time the work had lowered his hearing capacity as well, which he only determined when he quit. He had the noise dampening ear muffs, but that wasn’t enough to block the sound effectively, plus the vibrations were still there.
    He was pretty good at his job, but it gave him an ill heart, lowered hearing and a handful of pills to take a few times each day.

    Another thing I want to mention is about general noise pollution in urban areas. I was gone camping for a week, and even though I was pretty close to a busy city area it was a few kilometres away and at night, when everything had settled down, you become fully aware of tens of different noises, that have always been there, but are invisible in the day due to all the noise humanity produces with it’s daily activities.

    All this noise has been proven to cause stress, hypertension, weakness and headaches, and lack of sleep, along with the general deaf threat.

    The worse about it, we’ve grown to ignore it, be used with it. Most of the time we don’t even register the sound from the AC, fridge, but at the same time, it’s really unhealthy, when excessive.

    Anyway, this comment became far too long. I commend you for the initiative and will spread it through my circles.

    Kyle Tenant

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  7. August 26, 2014 at 5:59 am ET  -   Jayesh Chand

    Yes the use of quiet machinery is being encouraged now a days as this helps in reducing the sound pollution and the disturbance caused by the machines that make loud sounds. Most of the machines produce a sound which causes too much of frustration.

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  8. September 13, 2014 at 2:59 am ET  -   Business Website Design

    Another thing I want to mention is about general noise pollution in urban areas. I was gone camping for a week, and even though I was pretty close to a busy city area it was a few kilometres away and at night, when everything had settled down, you become fully aware of tens of different noises, that have always been there. Thanks for sharing

    Link to this comment

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