Working in noisy environments is a high risk for hearing loss and deafness, with industries such as construction and manufacturing being two of the most high-risk industries, where there are higher volumes of recorded deafness cases.
Employers have a responsibility to provide adequate PPE, including ear defenders and other protective equipment to protect their workers from injury and health problems, and to ensure there are health and safety policies in place to ensure equipment is being used correctly.
If you are an employer or a self-employed worker who works in a high-risk industry for hearing damage, you need to make sure that you purchase the right ear defenders to protect your ears. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 states that ear protection is required for daily or weekly noise exposure of 85dB (about the same noise level as a hand-held drill produces).
This information should help you decide which ones you need for ear safety:
(SNR stands for signal-to-noise ratio and the higher the SNR, the more protection provided)
B-Brand Ear Defenders Super – SNR27
Affordable and padded for comfort, these ear defenders conform to EN352-1:2002 and are rated 27.6dB SNR. They feature an adjustable headband and start at just £2.89 plus VAT.
JSP Ear Defenders Classic GP - SNR24
A popular product for use in sawmills and using forestry equipment, these ear defenders conform to EN352-1:2002 and are rated 24dB SNR. They are lightweight and have a padded, adjustable headband. Prices start at £9.50 plus VAT.
Deltaplus Ear Defenders Interlagos – SNR30
These heavy-duty ear defenders have foam-filled padding and are rated 30dB SNR, conforming to EN352-1. They are reinforced with metal for durability and have hi-vis markings. These can be bought in bulk from £11.50 plus VAT.
3M Peltor Optime II Ear Defender Neckband – SNR31
These high-quality ear defenders have been designed for demanding noise-hazard environments, such as at airports and working with construction machinery. Rated 31dB SNR, conforming to EN352-1, they provide a snug comfort, as well as high protection. Bulk orders start from £19.75 plus VAT.
3M Peltor Optime III Ear Defender – SNR35
The Optime III ear defenders have been designed for use in extremely noisy environments, with a rating of 35dB SNR. With superior technology and comfort, the CE approved ear defenders offer ultimate ear protection for £19.75 plus VAT when buying in bulk.
It is important that you calculate the noise exposure so that you can select the most suitable ear defenders, based on their SNR rating.