Why should workers use hearing protection?
Permanent hearing loss can directly result from a worker not using hearing protection. When workers are exposed to loud noises all day long, their ears need to be protected so as not to get permanent hearing loss. Tascosa Building Supplies can help.
Are there standards to protect workers’ hearing in the workplace?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other regulatory and standard setting agencies have specific standards that employees should adhere to when noise levels in the workplace reach a certain decibel level. OSHA specifically limits the decibel level of American workers during an eight hour work shift. OSHA further states that workers’ time in the workplace should be reduced if the decibel level in the workplace increases. OSHA provides a chart as to the amount of time a worker can be in the workplace related to the decibel level of noise in the workplace.
An employer must pay attention to the decibel level in the workplace and provide workers with hearing protection to prevent hearing loss. The kind of hearing protection is a determinant of the type of work being done and the decibel level the work produces. After analyzing the workplace decibel level, an employee can determine what kind of hearing protection to use.
What types of hearing protection do employers have to choose from?
Basically, there are two types of hearing protection for workers. One is earplugs inserted into the ear, and the other is ear muffs covering the whole ear. Again, the use of either earplugs or earmuffs is determined by the amount of noise in the workplace.
Earplugs provide a high level of protection from noise in the workplace. An earplug fits directly into the ear canal. Earplugs are easy for workers to keep up with because they fit nicely in a pocket or carrying device. If a worker wears a safety helmet or safety glasses in the workplace, the earplugs do not interfere with these safety items. They are not bulky and are easy to store.
A negative to wearing earplugs is that they sometimes are hard to fit the ear. An earplug has to fit into the ear canal correctly to maximize effectiveness. Forming the earplug to fit the ear canal is a challenge sometimes. Sometimes a worker will have to pull on their ear a certain way to fit the earplug into the ear canal. As easy as they are to store or put in a pocket, they are easy to lose because they are so small. Earplugs have advantages and disadvantages.
Earmuffs are another type of hearing protection for workers. Unlike earplugs, earmuffs do not need to be fitted into the ear canal. Most models of earmuffs are one size fits all. They can also be fitted securely on the worker’s head. If workers work in a colder climate, earmuffs keep their ears warm. Earmuffs are much harder to lose than a set of earplugs.
Earmuffs have some disadvantages also. Earmuffs will trap heat and moisture. In more humid climates, this can be uncomfortable for the worker. If the worker wears a safety helmet or safety glasses on the job, earmuffs can be uncomfortable and cumbersome to work correctly. If the worker does wear a safety helmet, they will need to get the type of earmuff that fits the helmet and not the head.
Which type is better for your employees?
It depends on the worker and the situation of the workplace. An employer should consider the decibel level of the workplace first and foremost. Keep in mind that a worker can use both simultaneously if the workplace allows it.
Tascosa Building Products will assist you with hearing protection.
With the various types of hearing protection available today, Tascosa Building Products will take the time to make sure you choose one for your needs. Call or visit Tascosa Building Products, and our staff will assist you with all of your hearing protection needs.