Hearing Loss Prevention Beyond the Workplace

July 10, 2017
Industrial Hearing loss

As a Hearing Protection Manufacturer, we as a company are always speaking about Hearing Loss Prevention in the workplace. However, there are also Best Practices for developing a culture of hearing conservation, both at work and at home.

Since OSHA had implemented detailed noise exposure regulations (29 CFR 1910.95), employers and safety professionals have monitored noise levels, posted warning signs, purchased earplugs and routinely tested employees’ hearing. Other activities consisted of training programs for new employees, putting up posters and selected groups to be a part of the product buying process.

Although these activities are conducted to prevent hearing loss, workers are still continuing to suffer noise-induced hearing loss at alarming rates. The cost of noise-induced hearing loss in the United States is now measured in billions (not millions) of dollars annually.

Hearing Loss Prevention plan

Setting up the actual Hearing Loss Prevention plan is easy; the difficult task is getting workers to buy in and engage in the program. In addition, loud noises are not just limited to the workplace. Noise-induced hearing loss can be just as prevalent off the job as on the job, and exposure outside the workplace is often a lot less noticeable.

Build Buy-in on the Hearing Loss Prevention Plan – Educate & Engage beyond the workplace

Beyond employee adherence to safety rules, there are ways to utilize other controls for reducing noise exposure that will impact the worker on and off the job.

Additionally, OSHA offers a list of administrative controls that managers can use to minimize the risk:

  • Operating noisy machines during shifts with the fewest employees exposed
  • Limiting the number of time employees can work near a noise source
  • Providing quiet areas for employees to get a break from the noise
  • Restricting worker presence to a suitable distance away from a noise source
  • Establishing a hearing conservation program (required at sites exceeding the PEL)
  • Hold informative workshops on the importance of Hearing Loss Prevention on and off the job.

Some of these suggestions may be more feasible at your work site than others, so take advantage of those that you can logistically implement. Encourage employee participation in this process as well, because they tend to have the greatest exposure to noise, and thus may have insights for improving hearing protection. Many incidents of hearing loss from occupational noise exposure are preventable, and because completely eliminating the noise at work is often not an option, companies must take every measure possible to minimize its effects.

To learn how a Proper Safety plan is executed please check out our previous post: A Proper Executed Safety Program


Sources

http://www.selectinternational

A Proper Executed Safety Program = Money Saved

June 29, 2017

Workplace injuries can cost our society around $128B in losses in a given year. This amount equals to 25¢ of every dollar in pre-taxed corporate profits.

(American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002)

safety plan

Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Program

Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Program will not only provide proper structure for safety but will also create long-term savings in an organization. Having a proper outlined safety guideline can provide essential benefits such as:

  • Reduce injury
  • Increase productivity
  • Create a safe work culture

Reduce Injury

“50 workers are injured every minute of the work week.” 

– American Society of Safety Engineers, 2002

A health and safety manager is responsible for ensuring that safety is an essential component of an organization. (Maine Department of Labor, 2013) Reducing injury in the workplace is imperative, as the people within the company are the vital elements that help steer the organization’s future.

Therefore, it is important to have a safety system with proper precautions. Without a system, avoidable injuries and costs can arise.  Examples of the costs that could be affected are:

  • Increased spending on insurance premiums
  • Increase in hiring costs
  • The added cost of re-training
  • Overtime to compensate for low workforce

The money that is spent on these avoidable costs could be invested into other aspects of the organization:  i.e. – enhancing the development of both the business and the people of the company. An example of where to invest would be: providing cost-effective personal protective equipment to prevent worker injuries. Personal protective equipment could include proper custom ear molding devices to protect hearing-loss, eyewear to prevent eye injury, headwear to protect your head, etc.

A lack of safety can lead to a loss of productivity, efficiency and time, in the long-run.

Increase in Productivity

“Developing a safety culture… increases employee productivity by 24% and reduces factory costs by 20%   

– SafetyLine, 2017 

increase-productivity

 

When an organization tries to find methods to cut costs (including bypassing a properly outlined and managed safety program), the assumption is that this will save money and time; thereby increasing profits. This type of action creates the opposite effect in the long run, as these workplace environments can be deemed unsafe and undesirable to work in. A decrease in productivity may occur as a consequence of injured employees taking time off from work. This can be a detriment to any company and needs to be avoided.

That is just one aspect of a loss in productivity when avoiding an investment in a safety. Other affected benefits may include:

  •  A lack of a high-quality working environment
  • A lack of good communications/relationships between management and employees
  • A lack of demonstrating that the company values their employees

When a working environment is at its peak morale, employees are motivated to work hard and be safe in their roles.  This provides the company with an opportunity to invest into other aspects of their business when people are productive and safe.

Create a Safe Work Culture

“Building a strong health and safety culture will have positive impact on your workers and public perception”

– Worksafe BC, 2017

Company culture creates an “aura” that is interpreted by society. When a company values safety as an organizational standard, potential and current talent sees this as a positive benefit to working for a company. When a company undervalues safety and health, it can create a poor reputation, pushing away workers. Employee morale can be affected, resulting in people leaving the organization. When a company is unable to fill positions, wages that are above market values are typically needed to attract talent. (American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002)

Engaging the workforce in health and safety practices; having a transparent and open health and safety program, and always wanting to improve the health and safety performance inside a company, provides a great return for any organization. Creating a strong health and safety culture demonstrates that employees are highly valued.

“Studies indicate that every $1 invested in a workplace safety program [returns] $3 – $10 in direct and indirect cost savings.”

– American Society of Safety Engineers, 2002

Workplace injuries can be costly

More than $40 billion are paid each year by employers and their insurers in worker’s compensation benefits; or nearly $500 per covered employee. (American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002) There is an initial investment when creating a safety program, but it will pay off in the long run.  A company may experience high monetary losses and workforce labor losses without proper guidelines. Safety is a major factor that should never be overlooked or ignored. Recognizing the value of a comprehensive health and safety program will ultimately save the organization money.

 


Sources

American Society of Safety Engineers. (2002, June 8). White Paper Addressing the Return on Investment for Safety, Health, and Environment (SH&E) Management Programs [Article]. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs/action/return-on-investment-for-safety/

Institute for Safety and Health Management (2014, September 4). Why Safety and Health Have Good Business Benefits [Blog]. Retrieved from https://ishm.org/safety-health-good-business-benefits/

Maine Department of Labor (2013). Managing Safety and Health [Article]. Retrieved from http://www.safetyworksmaine.gov/safe_workplace/safety_management/

SafetyLine (2017). Is Safety Productive? [Blog]. Retrieved from https://safetylineloneworker.com/blog/is-safety-productive/#more-2740

Worksafe BC (2017). Enhancing Health & Safety Culture & Performance [Article]. Retrieved from https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/create-manage/enhancing-culture-performance

 

How is sound measured?

June 20, 2017

How is sound measured?

Sound energy travels in waves and is measured in frequency and amplitude.

Amplitude measures how forceful the wave is. It is measured on a Logarithmic scale and reported[1] in decibels or dBA of sound pressure. 0 dBA is the softest level that a person can hear. Normal speaking voices are around 65 dBA. A rock concert can reach about 120 dBA but is often at 100 dB.

Sounds that are 82[2] dBA or above can permanently damage your ears when exposed for a long period of time. The more sound pressure a sound has, the less time it takes to cause damage. For example, a sound at 85 dBA may take as long at 8 hours to cause permanent damage, while a sound at 97 dBA can start damaging hair cells after only 30 minutes of listening.

Frequency is measured in the number of sound vibrations in one second. A healthy ear can hear sounds of very low frequency, 20 Hertz (or 20 cycles per second), to a very high frequency of 20,000 Hertz. The lowest A key on the piano is 27 Hertz. The middle C key on a piano creates a 262 Hertz tone. The highest key on the piano is 4186 Hertz.

Sound Measurement Scenario

Have you even been in a noisy factory and had to cover your ears?

Walked past a jackhammer in the street and winced because the sound was so loud? Being exposed to loud noises for a brief period usually does no harm, but imagine having to suffer it hour upon hour, day after day. Noise that can damage your ears is referred to as “Toxic Noise”. A reliable way to determine if you have Toxic Noise is to stand 1 meter or 1 yard from someone. If they can’t understand you when speaking at a normal conversational level, you have an indicator that you have Toxic Noise. Once you determine you have Toxic Noise, the first thing you need to do is measure how loud it is so you can take effective steps to reduce it.

Making precise measurements of noise used to be quite a tricky business, but now there are automated, electronic sound-level meters that do the job for you.

What makes one sound louder than another?

How loud a sound seems to depend on who’s listening. A young person playing rock up in their bedroom might not think their music is loud, but their parents in the room down below might have other ideas. In other words, how loud things seem is a subjective thing and not something we can easily measure. However, what makes one sound seem louder than another is the amount of energy that the source of the sound is pumping towards the listener in the form of pressure variations in the air. That’s the intensity of the sound.

Meters that measure sound levels work by calculating the pressure of the sound waves traveling through the air from a source of the noise. That’s why you’ll sometimes see them referred to as sound pressure level (SPL) meters. Devices like this give a measurement of sound intensity in units called decibels as we mentioned before. Telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell first devised this scale.

Below check out the sound odometer and the intensity of various sounds.

Sound-ODO

If you think you have toxic noise, and you want help measuring it, contact (in the U.S. hearus@protectear.com and in Canada contact hear@protectear.com ).

Sources

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/sound.html


[1] Because the scale is Logarithmic the difference between 10 decibels and 11 decibels is 10x the sound power just like the Richter scale for measuring the intensity of earthquakes.

[2] A European study showed exposures of up to 82 dB resulted in the same hearing loss as the general non-noise-exposed population. At 85 dB the noise-exposed population experiences twice the regular population’s level of hearing loss.

What you should know about protecting your hearing this summer. 

June 10, 2017

What you should know about protecting your hearing this summer. 

Now that summer is just around the corner, it is important to know that there is more than just the sun to protect oneself from. Summer is filled with several outings and adventures where you may be exposed to loud noises. We don’t often think about the impact some activities can have on our hearing, so here are few to look out for this summer.

Driving in a convertible car:

Many of us are eager to hit the road during warmer months. During road trips, keep the stereo at a moderate volume, and don’t use music to drown out background noise. Opt for noise canceling earphones, instead.

Riding a motorcycle:

Riding motorcycles can make you happier … and hard of hearing

If you are a rider and say “motorcycle noise”, most people think of loud exhaust pipes. Savvy riders know there’s a much greater enemy — wind. Exposure to sound louder than 95 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing damage. Street riders on quiet bikes can expect wind noise to exceed 110 dB (even inside a good helmet); racers can expect 115 dB. Fifteen minutes of 110 dB a day, five days a week (can you say commute?) can cause up to a 30-percent hearing loss within a year. Your options: never ride faster than you can walk, use motorcycle personal ear plugs, or face a future with one of those ear trumpets glued to the side of your head.

Watching fireworks   fireworks

Be smart when you celebrate July 1st or the 4th of July festivities. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. And when watching the show, stay a safe distance away—where you can enjoy the colors and lights but not expose yourself and your family to loud noises.

To protect your hearing, make sure you’re wearing earplugs and that they’re securely in place before the show begins. Also be sure to keep them in for the entire show.

Jammin’ to loud music

Most of all, you should limit the length of time you spend in a noisy environment. When you do participate in noisy activities, alternate them with periods of quiet. And remember to use ear protection.

MusicRemember to “TURN it DOWN”

When listening to smartphones and other electronics, use them at a low volume. It is important to limit your use of headphones and ear buds. Remember, it’s not just the volume that matters. It is also the exposure or duration of time spent listening.

Taking a flight? Going on vacation?

Air travelers often complain about ear discomfort. When the plane is taking off or landing, yawn, swallow or chew gum to unplug your ears. If these tips aren’t effective, pinch your nostrils shut, inhale a mouthful of air, and direct the air back to your nose, as if you’re trying to gently blow, to equalize the pressure in your ears. Vented customized hearing protection devices can also help with the ear discomfort when the plane gets noisy.

flight

These are just a few activities to look out for and to remember to think twice about protecting your hearing this summer. To learn more about custom hearing protection and dB Blockers™, contact us today.

db Blockers

From all of us at ProtectEar, have a safe and protected summer.

 

May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 25, 2017

Approximately 46 million Americans experience some form of communication disorder. Communication disorders can compromise physical and emotional health and affect the social, educational, vocational, and recreational aspects of life.

Hearing Loss

To raise awareness about communication disorders, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) joins the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in observing Better Hearing and Speech Month each May. The NIDCD, ASHA, and many allied organizations educate the public about communication disorders, treatments, and current research that can improve the lives of those with hearing loss or with voice, speech, or language disorders. This year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month theme is “Communication: The Key to Connection.”

“Approximately 15 percent of American adults, or 37.5 million people, report some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss can lead to feelings of isolation and a lack of connection with family, friends, and community. Assistive devices such as hearing aids can significantly improve quality of life, yet only about one in four of those who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them.”


SOURCE

https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/news/2017/may-better-hearing-and-speech-month

Think of the environment when selecting your hearing protection device

May 23, 2017

Think of the environment when selecting your hearing protection device

Hearing environment

It is not disputed that earplugs protect the wearer from the noise exposure in an industrial, musical, sports and motorsport setting. The single-use disposable earplug remains the most common type of hearing protection in use today. In fact, disposable hearing protection is still commonly used in workplaces despite them being commercially introduced as the first foam disposable earplugs over 40 years ago.

Single-use disposable ear plugs remain popular because they’re perceived to be inexpensive -although they are not. Disposables are not cheap when compared to use over the expected lifetime of a custom moulded earplug.

Disposables vs Earplugs – Cost Scenario 1

Allowing for 2 breaks and lunch, the user of disposable earplugs will use 4 pair per day. (Disposable hearing protection should never be reinserted once removed).  When allowing for bulk buying, generally earplugs can be purchased for about 15¢ per pair.

REAL COST BREAKDOWN

Use of 4 pair of earplugs per day for 5 days per week for 50 weeks per year brings the cost to $150.00 per employee. A pair of custom-moulded earplugs costing $150 with an expected use life of five years, amortizes to $35.00 per year

  • 4 disposable earplugs/day  X 15¢/pair for 50 weeks/year = $150.00 per employee/year
  • 1 pair of custom earplugs is generally less than $150.00 for the expected 5 year life of the earplugs (the cartilage in our ears continues to change throughout our lifetime and subtle changes can affect the seal of the protectors over time, therefore it is recommended that new moulds be taken minimally every 5 years).
  • Disposable earplugs @ $150.00/year for 5 years = DO THE MATH! ($750.00 per 1 employee vs $150.00 for custom earplugs per employee every 5 years) 

Ear Plugs contribute to waste production and landfill

Along with the REAL COST, the other unfortunate and negative aspects of single-use earplugs are – they contribute to waste production and landfill.

It is no secret that there is a shortage of landfills across North America; plus many companies including Custom Protect Ear (CPE), are trying to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable practices and producing ecofriendly products to eliminate waste. Our company, CPE, is committed to becoming more sustainable by working to eliminate or offset any adverse effects our business may have on the planet.

Some of the programs we initiated are:

  • Reducing energy consumption and by purchasing strictly green power: generated from renewable resources.
  • Reducing landfill waste by making hearing protectors with a 5 year life span and by reusing, recycling or reclaiming waste materials whenever we can.
  • Making all marketing materials available in digital formats that can be supplied over the internet; and when printed, only on post-consumer papers with environmentally sensitive inks.
  • Refining our production processes to engineer out any adverse effects on the environment.

Ear Plug Environmental Scenario

Consider a typical industrial workplace in the US

The company has 200 workers within a mandatory hearing protection zone and each employee has access to disposable earplugs.  Each employee works 250 days per year. Each worker wears one disposable pair of earplugs for the morning shift and a new pair after lunch; so let’s factor 2 pairs of disposables per work day. (*We use 2 as an average, however, the numbers of disposable plugs may vary by worker in a day) Disposable Ear Plugs

If you do the math at a 100% conformance, that is a staggering 100,000 pairs of used earplugs that are being sent to the landfill by this one company each year. Within 5 years, the company will send one million single non-biodegradable earplugs to the landfill; a problem that is further compounded when you also consider that most earplugs are packaged in a box or provided in additional individual plastic wrappers.

The earplug itself is unlikely to be biodegradable and the actual amount of landfill created by one employee wearing two pairs a day during their employment is staggering; times this by the number of employees and the number of businesses within the US and the financial cost increases and the environmental impact becomes apparent.

Solution: Custom Moulded Hearing Protection

Fortunately, there is a solution that reduces waste, saves money and retains the required level of protection. The solution is dB Blockers™.  dB Blockers™ are a custom moulded hearing protector that is manufactured by Custom Protect Ear.

dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, providing the worker with a custom hearing protector (earplug) that can be worn all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation.

dB Blockers™ vs. Disposable Plugs

  • dB Blockers™ are fit to each employee’s ear exactly – eliminating ear pressure and discomfort
  • Enhanced communication in noise on the phone or in conversation
  • Allows the employee to hear warning sounds
  • Manufactured with SkinSoft™ hypoallergenic, non-flammable silicone

Learn more about dB Blockers

So, before you run out to buy those disposables or log in to your safety supplier or Amazon account, think again. It’s not just about the immediate need; it’s about making a decision that impacts the environment. Do you know how much it is actually costing your company? Learn more> 


SOURCES:

https://www.audiologyinnovations.ca/custom-earplugs/the-benefits-of-custom-moulded-earplugs/

http://www.soundguard.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/The-toxic-truth-about-disposable-earplugs.pdf

 

5 things to consider when choosing a Hearing Protection Device Vendor

May 16, 2017

WHAT 5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A HEARING PROTECTION DEVICE VENDOR

Some of you may not know that when choosing a Hearing Protection Device (HPD) for your company, there is more than “a good product” to look for when selecting a hearing device for your workforce.

According to CCOHS & OHS-

People should wear a hearing protector if the noise or sound level at the workplace exceeds 85 decibels (A-weighted) or dB (A). Hearing protectors reduce the noise exposure level and the risk of hearing loss.

If hearing protection is required, then a complete Hearing Loss Prevention Program should be instituted. A Hearing Loss Prevention Program includes noise assessment, hearing protection selection, employee training and education, audiometric testing, maintenance, inspection, record keeping, and program evaluation.

The effectiveness of hearing protection is reduced greatly if the hearing protectors do not fit properly or if they are worn only part time during periods of noise exposure. To maintain their effectiveness, they should not be modified.

Remember, radio headsets are not substitutes for hearing protectors and should not be worn where hearing protectors are required to protect against exposure to noise.

When selecting a hearing protection provider, we have highlighted 5 elements to look for. This will directly impact during the process:

You should ask yourself of the following,

Does the Vendor:

  1. Meet the standard requirements?
  2. Highlight the quality of the product?
  3. Have Customer and After Sales service?
  4. Meet the comfort and wear requirements?
  5. Have a Warranty and Product Guarantee?

1. Standards and Requirements When Choosing HPD’s

USA Hearing Protection Standard

The standard most recognized in the US market is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The Hearing Protection Standards outline noise safety steps when noise cannot be sufficiently reduced through engineering. The Current Standard is ANSI/S12.6-2016; Methods for Measuring the Real-Ear Attenuation of Hearing Protectors. This standard specifies laboratory-based procedures for measuring, analyzing, and reporting the passive noise-reducing capabilities of hearing protectors. More Standards found here.

Canadian Hearing Protection Standard

The Canadian Standard Association (CSA) standard on Hearing Protection is the CSA Z94.2 – Hearing Protection Devices legislation. This new version of the standard meshes more closely with US approaches, recognizing the reality of how closely our two economies are entwined and provides more guidance to health and safety professionals needing reliable information on how to select hearing protection. It should become the new standard for due diligence in selecting and using hearing protection in Canada.

The Measurement Standards includes the following criteria:

  • Attenuation – (difference of SLs (sensation levels)at the threshold with and without protectors)
  • Comfort – No standard as of yet
  • Insertion loss (not the same) ( the difference between levels inside and outside of the ATF-Acoustic Test Fixture).

More on Standards 

2. Quality of Product

When it comes to Hearing Protection Devices there are ample products out in the market that range from ear muffs,disposables to custom hearing protection. However, when it comes to quality it is important to look at two elements; 1. adequate protection and 2. communication safety. When it comes to hearing protection, not all devices are created equally.

Just like one size fits all work boots are probably not the best choice, neither is one size fits all hearing protection. Every human ear is unique in size, shape, and depth. Therefore it makes sense that for hearing protection to be the most effective, as well as the most comfortable, it must be custom fit.

Knowing the fitting process helps determine the adequacy of the product. For Custom Protect Hearing, the fitting process usually takes about 10 minutes and typically begins with one of their highly trained and certified experts visiting the customer’s plant or workplace in order to do the fitting on-site.

To begin, the ear is inspected to make sure it is safe to take an impression.

Then an oto-dam is placed inside the ear to protect the eardrum. Impression material is prepared and carefully injected into the client’s ear (up to the depth of the oto-dam). The material hardens quickly, and moments later, the impression is gently removed. The impression creates an exact replica of the wearer’s ear canal and outer ear.

This ensures the custom hearing protector seals the ear both in the canal and around the ear.

And for interpersonal communication purposes, the proprietary frequency tuned filter allows communication without removing the HPD. People can communicate in noise more effectively while wearing their dB Blocker™ hearing protection, than if they were to remove them. Your Hearing Loss Prevention Program will not interfere with productivity, rather it will enhance it. This process uses a custom hearing device called the dB Blocker™.

3. Customer and After Service

When it comes to customer service – it is important to be able to speak with someone who can answer all your questions and eliminate roadblocks. Having a live person you can connect with is important to the HPD buying experience.  Besides going through the actual sales process some things you can check out on the company are:

  • What are their Corporate Values?
  • What is the process to handle Product Replacements and Returns?
  • Is there a 1-800 number you can call?
  • Are there forms you can fill out to order additional hpd’s on their website?

4. Comfort & Wear

It is always good to look for guarantees for Fit and Comfort.  When it comes todB Blocker

custom HPD’s, fit and comfort are crucial to the wearer’s experience. Is there any type of FIT Warranty that allows for the individual to ensure the earpiece fits and seals properly? A FIT Warranty (guaranteeing comfort and wear) is particularly important to a Hearing Loss Prevention Program as it is one of the things that ensures compliance and that the individual will wear the HPD, thereby decreasing any type of liability or workplace harm.

5. Warranty & Product Guarantee

Purchasing HPD’s are an investment in your employee’s health and safety, so it is important that you get the customer service and after care service with your investment. A few things to look for:

  1. How many years is the product warranted for?
  2. Generally, custom HPD’s have a 1-3 year material warranty from the date of manufacture. Does it cover any tearing, cracking, or splitting of one or both earpieces?
  3. The warranty claim process should be easy. Ideally, when dealing with a warranty issue – you should be able to call and deal with a real person who can walk you through the claim process.

By going through these 5 steps when selecting an HPD manufacturer, it will make your life easier, and remove any concerns when it comes to protecting your employees hearing.

To learn more about selecting an HPD vendor please contact us, and one of our representatives will be able to answer all of your questions. 

I CAN’T HEAR YOU! over all that noise…

May 12, 2017

DOES ANYONE LIKE LOUD NOISES?

Loud noise at work can damage people’s hearing and lead to safety risks.

What harm can noise cause?

Hearing harmful noise at work can cause permanent and disabling hearing damage. Hearing loss can be gradual due to exposure to noise over time, but may also be caused by sudden, extremely loud noises. Hearing loss damage is disabling as it can prevent people from comprehending speech, keeping up with conversations or even using the telephone. Hearing loss is not the only problem that may occur. People may develop tinnitus (a ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears) which is a distressing condition that can result in disturbed sleep. Noise can create safety issues at work interfering with communications and making warnings harder to hear. It can also reduce people’s awareness of their surroundings.

Noise issues can compromise safety – putting people at risk of injury or death.

Health and Safety – Noise at WorkWork in noise

Depending on the level of risk, companies should: take action to reduce noise exposure; and provide employees with personal hearing protection. Other duties under the Regulations include the need to: make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded; maintain and ensure the use of equipment in place to control noise risks; provide employees with information, instruction, and training; and carry out health surveillance (monitor workers’ hearing ability). The Regulations apply where work activities expose people at work (your employees or other workers affected by your work activities) to risks to their health and safety from noise.

A company must ask itself,

Is there a noise problem in the workplace? Something must be done about the noise if any of the following conditions apply:

  • the noise is intrusive – for example, as noisy as a busy road, a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant – or worse than intrusive, for most of the working day
  • employees have to raise their voices to carry out a normal conversation when about 2 m apart for at least part of the day
  • employees use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day
  • your industry is known to have noisy tasks, e.g. construction, demolition or road repair; woodworking; plastics processing; engineering; textile manufacture; general fabrication; forging or stamping; paper or board making; canning or bottling; foundries; waste and recycling; noises due to impacts (such as hammering, drop forging, pneumatic impact tools etc.), explosive sources such as cartridge-operated tools or detonators, or guns.

Situations, where you will need to consider safety issues in relation to noise, include where you use warning sounds to avoid or alert to dangerous situations; where working practices rely on verbal communications; and where there is work around mobile machinery or traffic.

As an employer you have identified NOISE AT WORK, you should carry out an assessment to decide what action is needed, and develop a HEARING LOSS PREVENTION PLAN.

A risk assessment means more than just taking measurements of noise – measurements may not even be necessary.

A risk assessment should identify where there may be a risk of noise and who is likely to be affected.  The assessment should include:  identifying any risks to health; any risks to safety; contain an estimate of an employee’s exposure to noise (see ‘Noise exposure levels’); identify what needs to be done to comply with the law.  You should determine whether noise-control measures and/or personal hearing protection are needed; or whether working practices are safe, and identify any employees who need to be provided with health surveillance and whether any are at particular risk. You must record the findings of your risk assessment. You must also record the action you have taken, or intend to take, to comply with the law. You should review your risk assessment if circumstances change or if it is no longer valid. For example: if the work changes and this affects workers’ noise exposure, or there are changes to the availability, applicability of noise-control measures, then a review is necessary. You should conduct a review often – never leaving it longer than two years between reviews.

Hearing Protection Devices; dB Blockers™dB Blockers

Wherever or whenever there is noise at work, you should be always looking out for better protection against noise such as better hearing protection devices, equipment and/or working methods which would reduce the noise or ensuring people are exposed for shorter periods of time.

The good news is that if you have identified noise is an issue, there are ample product solutions that can fit and reduce your noise problems. Ask about dB Blocker™ personalized hearing protection products.  dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit an individual’s ear exactly, giving the wearer a custom hearing protector (earplug) that can be worn all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation.

Take control of the noise, before it controls your workplace!

As an employer, it is vital to your role to keep up with what is good practice or the standard for noise-control within your industry, (e.g. through your regulating bodies, your trade association, or machinery and equipment suppliers). Where your employees are likely to be exposed at or above the upper exposure action values, you must take action to reduce noise exposure with a planned program of noise control. Even where noise exposures are below upper exposure action values, you should take action to reduce the risks and find appropriate hearing protection devices, thereby reducing exposure further. Any action you take should be ‘reasonably practicable’ – in proportion to the level of risk. If exposure is below lower action values, the risk is low and it is likely no action is required; you should continue to practice diligence and consider taking action if there are simple, inexpensive practical steps that would further reduce risk.

Partners in Prevention 2017

May 2, 2017

May 2-3, 2017

Workplace Safety

Partners in Prevention 2017
Canada’s Largest Health & Safety Event

The two-day show focuses on building valuable relationships and growing sales opportunities. Partners in Prevention’s robust show floor will host over 400 booths featuring the latest in market trends, products and services.Workshops. Networking. New products. Health & safety peers. It’s all at Partners in Prevention 2017 Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show. Reserve your spot today!


Be sure to come to the ProtectEar Booth at the PIP show!Booth #613
PIP show

How much is a Noisy Workplace actually costing you?

April 25, 2017

Good communication is vital to running a safe and efficient worksite or workplace. But, how do you achieve that amid the noise and multifaceted demands of the average noisy workplace?

Construction sites, Manufacturing Plants, Food Assembly Lines and Shop Floors are typically characterized by loud equipment in constant motion and limited visibility. In this environment, a missed warning or misunderstood instruction can have costly—or even tragic—consequences.

Car Plant
Example: Workers wearing no hearing protection in a Chrysler car plant.

Cost of Noise

How do you know if your workplace is loud enough to require hearing protection. If you meet 2 out of 6 criteria below, then your company needs to re-evaluate their Hearing Conservation Plan.

  1. Your productivity is being seriously impacted.
  2. Your cost of goods are rising from mistakes.
  3. You’re spending at least $310/year for every employee in your hearing conservation program.
  4. Your Risk Management costs are rising
  5. Hearing protection alone is costing you $150/person/year
  6. Supervisors spending an extra 30 minutes a day trying to communicate in noise – @ $30.00/hour

If this is applicable to you, then most likely your incurring a extra cost of  $4,000/year. You do the Math!


What is the Cost of Noise

Industrial Hearing loss

All of this is the Cost of Noise. The Cost of Noise is hearing loss, productivity and risk management. 

The cost of noise saps productivity and adds expense to companies.  Reduce or control the cost of noise and profits will flow straight to the bottom line.  It is a competitive advantage and many companies have recognized it. If you and your company want to do something about the cost of noise, ask us about about dB Blockers.

What are dB Blockers™

dB Blockers and they’re the SMARTEST HEARING PROTECTION In the World.  Why smart? Inside each dB Blocker there is a little green filter, which filters out industrial noise and enhances speech. And it is also really a  communication device. You wear these to protect your hearing and they’ll let you hear people talking to you.

Thanks to recent advancements in technology through SMART (custom) hearing devices, and wireless communication headsets, the costs of communication, productivity and safety has decreased significantly.

 The benefits of dB Blockers™ 

  • clear and continuous communication during the performance of shared tasks
  • improved teamwork and increased mobilitydB-blocker-
  • the ability to provide verbal warnings in real time
  • fewer accidents and lower insurance costs
  • the ability for construction crews to get more done in less time

By adopting dB Blocker™ hearing devices an integral component of worksite communication, companies will not only enjoy a safer work environment, but also develop a more cohesive and productive crew.

dB Blocker™ Classic Intercanal (Vented). Learn More.
dB Blocker™ Classic Intercanal (Vented). Learn More.