Do you run a business that requires hearing protection for your employees? These are crucial in the construction industry.
You might also need them for the automotive industry. Or if you want to open a gun range, you definitely need hearing protection!
But how do you choose hearing protection for employees? How do you make sure your employees can do their work without risking hearing loss?
You want to make sure you first familiarize yourself with the guidelines of hearing protection.
You want to know what sound rates can be harmful. You want to also know what products are best for hearing protection.
Here’s how to protect hearing on the job.
Decibels (dB) are a unit of measurement for sound. This measurement gets used to determine how loud sound is for human hearing. The higher the number of decibels, the more dangerous it is for human ears.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set standards on what levels of decibels require protection.
These are the standards that OSHA recommends. You should provide hearing protection if your workers get exposed to the following decibels for a prolonged period of time:
- 90 dB for 8+ hours
- 92 dB for 6+ hours
- 95 dB for 4+ hours
- 97 dB for 3+ hours
- 100 dB for 2+ hours
- 102 dB for 1.5+ hours
- 105 dB for 1+ hours
- 110 dB for 30+ minutes
- 115 dB for 15+ minutes
There are many ways to measure the decibels rate or determine the possible rate for your workplace. If you aren’t sure, you should go with the ‘better to be safe than sorry’ mentality. Always have protective hearing aids available for your workers.
You also want to make sure you take the steps to reduce noise at your workplace. This will always depend on the type of business you run. You can take hints from your competitors on how to work on noise reduction in your business.
For example, if you run a gun range, you might want to have a stock of silencers available. You can request your customers to attach silencers to their guns if they choose.
You can also install noise absorbing panels around the workplace to reduce sound travel. You can also consider adding mufflers to your machinery.
You might also want to consider if you can upgrade your machinery to the latest models. For many machines, an upgraded version has in-built features to reduce noise.
You can also try to create soundproof rooms for certain work. Recording studios often have soundproof rooms for recording audio. This way, when the drummer bangs on their drums, the staff in the break room doesn’t have to listen to the racket!
There are also administrative procedures on hearing protection for employees. You can set limits of how long an employee can be around loud noises. You can request them to turn off noisy machinery after they use it for a certain duration.
Make sure that the workplace also has break rooms where employees can relax. These should be silent rooms where they can rest for prolonged periods to recover from the noise.
Products for Hearing Loss Prevention
The next step is to invest in the right products for hearing protection. A great option is to choose Sonetics wireless headsets. These are a great way to protect your workers from high decibel sounds.
You want to make sure that each employee has access to at least two sets of these headsets. In case one headset gets lost or damaged, they have a backup on hand. Make sure your employees get trained on how to use these headsets.
You also have to train your employees on how to look out for each other. On a busy day, the administration might not get to check up on employee wellbeing. Each employee should be responsible for making sure their fellow employees are protected from noise.
There are many other products that can help with ear health. For example, you provide each employee with ear wax removal kits. If they get wax buildup, they shouldn’t have to wait long to clean their ears.
Best Practices for Hearing Protection
Now let’s look at some more of the best practices for hearing protection.
The first step should be to always speak to your employees about how they feel about the noise. They shouldn’t be afraid to state that the noise is too loud.
If they feel that the hearing protection isn’t adequate, they should be upfront with you. If they are facing any hearing issues, they should bring this to your attention immediately.
If you provide healthcare coverage to your employees, you want to see if you can provide them with coverage for ear-related issues. If they ever need a medical procedure for their hearing, see if you can help them pay for this procedure.
Have a dedicated person in your workplace who researches noise reduction. They should spend their time looking for the best ear protection products at all times. They should always research machinery and other equipment that focus on noise reduction.
They should also look into scientific research on how to protect hearing. They should check if OSHA makes any changes to their hearing safety guidelines.
Make sure that all staff members know how to behave around employees during off-hours. Once an employee gets done with their work, they’ll likely need rest.
Other staff members shouldn’t try to chat or be loud around these workers. They need their space and relaxation to protect their hearing.
Protect Hearing at Your Workplace
Hearing protection is a serious matter at many workplaces. If an employee becomes deaf or hard of hearing, this can affect their future employment. It can have devastating effects on their personal lives as well.
Make sure you take the steps in this guide. Learn about the OSHA standards and take the time to measure decibel rates at your workplace.
Invest in the right protective headsets and educate everyone on the best practices for hearing protection.
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