Hearing Protection

13 June 2017

H&S safety wording
Hearing protection remains one of the most challenging H&S issues to manage.  Irreparable damage will likely be the first sign that something is wrong.

The HSE reports that around 29,000 a year suffer from deafness or ringing in the ear.  To protect hearing, prevention is the most important aspect, reactive support won’t be heard.

An effective hearing protection programme relies upon educating and reinforcing awareness of the dames of noise exposure alongside comfortable, effective and appropriate hearing protection.

Comfortable and unobtrusive ear protection will be wearable for longer periods and allows staff to get on with their jobs.  The choice of which protection to use is easy – the highest possible levels required for specific environments.

There are four easy steps to follow to protect the hearing of your employees:-

Detection – a risk assessment should always be carried out before any work takes place.  If voices need to be raised to be heard, it is likely that the sound is too high and protection is required.

Protection – This should be the last resort with adjustments and control measures put in place to reduce the exposure to noise in the first place.  Adequate protection for the task at hand must be provided but, also consider the issues protection could lead to such as employees being unable to hear alarms or shouts for support in case of emergency.

Training – Employees should be trained to understand the risks that excessive or continuous exposure to noise could pose to their hearing.  Training is also required in the correct use of the protection, making sure it is worn at all times when necessary.

Validation – Fit testing will ensure the right type of equipment is suitable for all staff, those with different size ear canals, long hair, glasses etc in particular should have fit testing carried out.