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A Business Case Evaluation of Workplace Engineering Noise Control: A Net-Cost Model

Lahiri, Supriya PhD; Low, Colleen BE; Barry, Michael BA

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 3 - p 329–337
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31820d19c0
Original Articles

Objective: This article provides a convenient tool for companies to determine the costs and benefits of alternative interventions to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Methods: Contextualized for Singapore and in collaboration with Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, the Net-Cost model evaluates costs of intervention for equipment and labor, avoided costs of productivity losses and medical care, and productivity gains from the employer's economic perspective.

Results: To pilot this approach, four case studies are presented, with varying degrees of economic benefits to the employer, including one in which multifactor productivity is the main driver.

Conclusion: Although compliance agencies may not require economic analysis of NIHL, given scarce resources in a market-driven economy, this tool enables stakeholders to understand and compare the costs and benefits of NIHL interventions comprehensively and helps in determining risk management strategies.

From the Department of Economics (Dr Lahiri and Mr Barry), University of Massachusetts Lowell, Mass; and Occupational Safety and Health Division (Ms Low), OSH Specialist Department, WHO Collaborating Centre, Ministry of Manpower, Singapore.

Address correspondence to: Supriya Lahiri, PhD, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Lowell, FA 302D, 1 University Ave, Lowell, MA 01854;

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine