Hello! The number of coronavirus-cases here in Norway seems to be stabilizing or even decreasing. However, the University campus is still closed, and we are here to answer your questions. The first question is for you, Magne. We have been discussing noise exposure at work this week,
and some students want to know: What is best for protection against high noise levels, ear plugs or ear muffs? In real life, both plugs and muffs give a noise reduction of about 10 15 dB. This is much less reduction than given by the producer. It is very important that plugs are inserted properly into your ear canal. Then they will give the best protection. Earmuffs, they are easier to put on, but they are more expensive and they are heavier.
At very high noise levels, then you should use the combination of plugs and muffs.
OK, then we have a second question: If health personnel develop coronavirus disease because of their contact with patients at work will this be an occupational disease? Here I need your help to answer this, Magne. We need to define two expressions first. First, we need to explain work related disease.
Work related diseases are very many. They are all the diseases which are caused by factors at work.
We have some examples: Silicosis, which is caused by silica dust at work; intoxications due to lead, that can cause serious nerve damage; deafness, which can be caused by noise levels; low back pain, which can be caused by heavy physical work; mental diseases can be caused by for instance long working hours. These are just a few examples and there are many, many more. Then we come to the definition of occupational diseases. That is something different.
These are not so many. And they are defined by the different countries in the world. Most countries have a list where they define occupational diseases and list them up. For instance, in Norway, we have silicosis. That is an occupational disease in Norway. We have intoxication due to lead; that is an occupational disease in Norway. And deafness due to high noise levels these are all occupational diseases. But - low back pain and mental disorders, they are not occupational disorders. This is not any logical decisions, this is based by the legislation.
And the reason why is that the occupational diseases, they give the possibility of getting an economic compensation by the government in the country - because they have developed this kind of disease. So, to the Covid 19.
Is that an occupational disease? We know very little about this virus disease yet, but it seems that some of the people who have had this infection, they develop lung problems afterwards. And, if you are a nurse, and you have acquired this disease because you have been nursing patients with this infection, you might wonder if you get an economic compensation afterwards. That means that you need to know if coronavirus-disease is an occupational disease. By today, it is not. It is a new disease, and I do not know about any country who has discussed this yet and defined coronavirus-disease as an occupational disease. -So the answer is no, but in due time, it might be defined as an occupational disease, later on.
-Let us hope nobody will develop this disease! -Yes, I agree, and meanwhile, take care until next week!