Workplace safety is of the upmost importance and in a noisy environment, hearing protection is mandatory. For example, the UK has legislation called the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 which states if working in an environment with exposure to noise over 85dB, you need to supply hearing protection and it must be worn all the time. Both the European Union and the US via the Department of Labor’s OSHA have similar directives.
Without protecting your employees’ ears, they can suffer hearing damage, including tinnitus and loss of hearing. In the longer term, such conditions can have a negative impact on mental wellbeing. With such serious health implications at stake, using hearing protection is of extreme importance. All that said, how do you choose the right type of hearing protection?
Qualities of Good Hearing Protection Solutions
There are a number of hearing protection options on the market, ranging from disposable foam plugs, earmuffs (defenders) to a custom molded plug. You may well supply one of these, but that does not necessarily mean that your employees are using it correctly or use it for the duration of the work shift. If this is the case, then they are susceptible to hearing damage and ultimately permanent hearing loss. What are the qualities of good ear protection solutions to protect the workforces’ hearing?
- It must fit well. If it fits well, it will be comfortable in the ear. A personalised custom fit is the best choice to enable all-day use, with no discomfort for the users
- They must be user-friendly to ensure they are not incorrectly inserted into their ears. This reduces the risk of them falling out and being ineffective
- Synonymous with good fit is maximum protection. If the earplug does not fit well, there is potential for sound to get in and render the earplug ineffective. A good fit provides an in-ear seal needed for maximum noise protection
- Attenuated protection. Using hearing protection with attenuated filters allows the employee to still hear their surroundings, whilst giving a reduction in damaging noise and so protecting their ears. This deters them from removing the earplugs to talk to their co-workers, as they are not completely cut off from the world when their earplugs are in
- Resistance to damage when dropped. Using protection made from a good, durable material ensures they are not damaged easily if dropped in the workplace.
By choosing the correct ear protection, your workforce is being kept safe and the risk of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is reduced.
Right Ear Protection – how to ensure its used
There are a number of steps which can be put in place to help ensure that the required protection is used consistently throughout the workplace:
1. Make sure the solution is comfortable and personalised to each individual
2. Ensure all day use, with no discomfort for the users
3. Educate employees on the importance of using the chosen solution and how it can help protect their hearing
4. Encourage employees to wear hearing protection whenever they are exposed to loud noises
5. Regularly test the noise levels in the workplace to ensure they are safe and within acceptable limits
To tick these boxes, choose SnugsShield Custom-Fit hearing protection. Made to fit each individual ear, you have unrivalled comfort and protection, ensuring your workers wear them all day, with no excuses! Depending upon the levels of noise in your environment, we offer a range of special attenuated filters. Such filters enable you to select the level of protection best suited to your workplace noise levels. Each pair is tested and certified to the stringent EU quality levels to ensure they meet current standards and regulations.
We also provide options of Custom-Fit Tips for Hearing Protection devices, ensuring existing investment of in-situ devices can utilise the benefits for security of fit and all-day comfort. Here’s an example of the of a 3M Peltor In Ear with our Custom-Tips. More importantly, these Custom-Tips promote invaluable all-day wearing of Hearing Protection. A main objective of any Health & Safety Executive.
At Snugs, we urge you to take these findings into consideration and provide your employees with the necessary safety equipment to protect their hearing. We also encourage you to continue researching new methods of protection and work with us to find ways to further safeguard your workers’ health.