I think my grade school English is failing me. That said, part of the problem with many relationships today is the lack of balance. For a relationship to work, both parties must be actively engaged in it. And it isn’t always smooth or harmonious. In fact, when the relationship becomes “energetic” both parties know that each other is engaged.
What’s this got to do with ears and hearing protection. Everything. For a hearing conservation program to work both parties, the associate and the employer, must be engaged in it. Too often, the employer is engaged in a process of fulfilling their responsibilities under the prevailing rules and legislation, and the associate is engaged in trying to manage their work and private lives. Does it have to be this way?
In the U.S., under the rules of OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) there is a program called the Volunteer Protection Programs Participants Association (VPPPA). This group approaches industrial health and safety differently. In VPPPA companies there is engagement throughout the organization. Sitting on the VPPPA committee are management and associates from all levels in the organization. There is engagement in VPPPA companies.
What’s all of this to do with the title? In order to engage associates they need to understand the issues. Only when they understand can they form decisions about how much or how little this affects them. But this education must be willingly accepted. To gain acceptance, try accessing some of the education from outside the company. Not Invented here (hear) is more readily assimilated than what might be perceived as corporate dogma. For this reason, we offer free hearing conservation workshops to anyone who wants them. We think that letting employees understand what dangers they face regarding their hearing and the probable outcomes is the first step to them being engaged in the hearing conservation program.