Using Ear Hearing Protection When Exposed To High Levels of Noise
Aside from the head and eyes, ear hearing protection should be issued to employees for a variety of reasons. The most obvious examples are situations where an employee is working in conditions of excessive noise. Identifying what constitutes ‘excessive’ noise is the responsibility of the employer; but an employee can informally analyse whether the level of noise is too loud by asking themselves if it is intrusive. If the noise level is louder than the sound of a busy street, then they should be wearing ear defenders. Legally, the requirement is that these should be purchased for times when the sound is or exceeds 84 decibels. The consequences of being exposed to high levels of sounds can be short or longer term hearing loss. Quite apart from the harm to employee, employer may face prosecution or a personal injury claim if they fail to identify hearing protection zones which will highlight to employees that wearing ear defenders is a requirement. Obviously, providing the right PPE equipment is essential, so it will benefit the employer to purchase industry standard earmuffs and foam earplugs. Several considerations will need to be taken into account when choosing ear hearing protection. This includes whether the ear defenders will cut out too much noise; as even this could be dangerous in the workplace if an employee is unable to hear a crucial warning. Once again, the right equipment on construction sites is not restricted to hi vis clothing: there are a range of factors to be taken into account.