Speaking Out for Young Workers

Speaking Out for Young Workers

Commentary and news on occupational health and safety for young workers.


editor's blog

Say What?

Have you ever gotten in the car in the morning and wondered why you were listing to the music so loudly the day before? Have you ever had trouble hearing or expereienced ringing in your ears after going to a concert or listening to your iPod for a long period of time?

What you are experiencing is damage to your hearing, potentially leading to noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Ever short term exposure to very loud noises, such as those you might experience at a shooting range if you were not wearing hearing protection, can cause permanent hearing loss. 

But how do you know if you need to put in a pair of ear plugs before you head out to mow the lawn, or if you need to turn the volume on your iPod to the left?  The Georgia Local Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (GLS-AIHA) wanted to help prevent hearing loss and promote healthy hearing. GLS-AIHA partnered with the Georgia Youth Alliance and the Georgia Tech Research Institute to create “GeRTI,” a mannequin outfitted with a sound level meter. Based on the Dangerous Decibels mannequin Jolene, GeRTI has the ability to show individuals just how loud they are listening to their iPod or other MP3 player when the ear bud from their MP3 player is inserted into GeRTI’s ear.   

GeRTI’s début was at the 2010 Construction Education Foundation of Georgia Career EXPO and State SkillsUSA competition in March 2010. Students passing through the World of Safety and Health had the opportunity to stick their ear buds in GeRTI’s ear to see just how loud they were listening to music and they listened to GLS-AIHA volunteers explain the significance of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus. Levels were often above 90 decibels and even frequently exceeded 115 dBA.

Since then, “GeRTI” has traveled around the state of Georgia visiting high schools to educate individuals about the importance of healthy hearing. The best part is, we have volunteers who would be happy to escort GeRTI to your school or event to help spread the word. If you would like to schedule a training session, please leave a comment below, or request a visit using the form provided on our Contact Us Page.

If you would like to develop your own Dangerous Decibels mannequin, please check out the “Jolene Cookbook” on the Dangerous Decibels website.


Welcome to our Safety and Health blog for the Center for Young Worker Safety and Health at GTRI! Our vision for this blog is to provide a forum for discussion about important issues related to young workers as they enter the workforce. We weclome stories and discussion, so please feel free to share your thoughts or send along a story you would like to feature.

In 2009, over 300 people ages 15-24 were killed on the job. Young workers are also twice as likely to end up in the emergency room when compared to workers 25 and older. This project is intended to reach out to young workers as they enter the labor force and provide interactive, engaging training resources, which have the potential to not only prevent injuries and illnesses, but to also save lives. We hope that this blog will provide one forum to reach out to not only younger workers, but also their employers, teachers, and parents.


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