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2016 Winners

The 2016 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™ , presented at the 41th Annual Conference of the National Hearing Conservation Association in San Diego, CA on February 19, 2016.

The 2016 recipients for Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention in the Manufacturing Sector are:

3M logo
3M has 180 plant locations worldwide which produce over 50,000 products.  The 3M Alexandria plant produces a variety of industrial abrasives products used to grind, blend, polish, sand, prep, cut, clean or repair surfaces.  These materials are used for metal fabrication, precision castings, cylindrical grinding, furniture and custom wood, automotive manufacturing, maintenance and more. The environmental health and safety staff and workers at 3M Alexandria are the 2016 recipient of the Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ in manufacturing. Starting in November 2011 3M Alexandria received corporate support to reduce noise exposures and the need for their workers to be enrolled in a hearing conservation program throughout their facility. Noise exposures were so successfully reduced (12 - 14 dBA across 24 different areas and departments), that 199 of 203 employees were no longer required to be included in the 3M Alexandria Hearing Conservation Program.  Their initiatives are recognized for the all-inclusive and systematic, statistically driven noise exposure assessments, cost-effective noise reduction projects, the documentation of cost and noise reduction results, and the implementation of Buy-Quiet principles.  In addition, 3M Alexandria has maintained a high quality audiometric testing and hearing protection selection and fitting program for those few employees that remain exposed to noise.   3M Alexandria’s success story demonstrates that noise control is desirable, achievable, and economical in both short and long term.
3M Alexandria Hearing Conservation Program (Adobe Flash Required)

(From left to right): Kristy Casto (NHCA), Carl Johnson (3M Alexandria), Matt VanWatermulen (3M Alexandria), John Howard, NIOSH
(From left to right): Kristy Casto (NHCA), Carl Johnson (3M Alexandria), Matt VanWatermulen (3M Alexandria), John Howard, NIOSH

VA TECH logo
John Casali is the John Grado Professor at Dept. of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Director, Auditory Systems Laboratory, Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA), Past-President, National Hearing Conservation Association, 2009 NHCA Outstanding Hearing Conservationist recipient, and co-chair of the 1995 NHCA-NIOSH joint hearing conservation conference. John Casali and Virginia Tech are the 2016 recipients of the Safe-in-Sound Award for Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevention for their pioneering, extensive and innovative efforts in hearing protection research and auditory signal detection. The work of the Auditory Systems Laboratory is unique in that it combines human factors engineering with acoustics and audiology to solve research questions in many aspects of auditory perception and hearing health. The areas of research are broad based and include:  auditory situation awareness for military and industrial applications, improved hearing protector design and evaluation, warning signal design and effectiveness, speech communications in noise, auditory requirements for specific job duties, signal detection and noise reduction in aircraft cockpits, integration of various items of personal protective equipment (interoperability) and noise annoyance in communities. The impact of their work extends beyond hearing loss prevention into safety. Their initiatives to study the user's ability to hear, perceive, and respond to important auditory stimuli in their environments -- that is, the ability to maintain "Auditory Situation Awareness" are recognized as innovative and broad reaching, and are considered critical to the improvement of hearing protection devices and the safety of their wearers. The ultimate beneficiaries of this work are primarily military personnel, but also workers in jobs which impose hazards that stem from not being able to hear important signals and communications. John Casali’s example and leadership instills a culture of scientific rigor, precision, and attention to detail that contributes to practical solutions in the real world of hazardous noise exposures.
Prof. John Casali Presentation on Innovation (Adobe Flash Required)

Summary of the Contributions from the Auditory Systems Laboratory, Virginia Tech (Adobe Flash Required)

(From left to right): Kristy Casto (NHCA), Carl Johnson (3M Alexandria), Matt VanWatermulen (3M Alexandria), John Howard, NIOSH
(From left to right): Kristy Casto (NHCA), Kichol Lee (Virginia Tech), John G. Casali (Virginia Tech), John Howard, NIOSH

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