In many situations, it is essential that the right protective equipment and clothing be worn. Perhaps no more so is this the case than when working in an environment subject to loud noise, where ear defenders are an absolute necessity.
A legal responsibility
Unsurprisingly, employers are legally obliged to provide their staff with adequate ear protection as the need demands. It is also the responsibility of the company to ensure that staff are well trained in the correct use of the equipment, and aware of the risks an environment presents.
There is an extensive range of ear defenders available today, providing protection across a range of situations. The HSE advises that the entry level noise into the inner ear should be no higher than 85dB and, ideally, considerably below this.
Understanding the noise levels in an environment therefore are important before any equipment is bought. Whilst cost is a concern for all companies, this should not be the overriding factor in a purchase. Comfort, hygiene and ease of care should also be considered, whilst offering a choice is recommended.
As with any workwear, proper maintenance ensures performance and longevity. As such, employees using the equipment and those in charge of dispensing it should ensure they are cleaned and stored properly, not modified and checked regularly.
Whether an environment is dominated by plant or other heavy machinery, or if there is the constant use of high intensity power tools, protecting the hearing is vital. With many manufacturers offering cost effective solutions today, protection should always come first.