October is National Protect You Hearing Month

October 5, 2022

Mark your calendars October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

CDC supports National Protect Your Hearing Month (#NPYHM). It is an annual event each October to provide an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems. People are encouraged to think about their own hearing and to get their hearing checked if they think there might be a problem.

Hearing loss should matter to everyone!

Did you know there is no cure for hearing loss? This is why hearing protection is important and designed for everyone. You can prevent hearing loss by protecting your hearing.

Avoid loud noise whenever possible and turn down the volume on personal listening devices. If you can’t avoid loud noise, use hearing protection like hearing moulds, earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears.

Hearing loss happens to all people and ages. Sometimes hearing loss can happen due to occupational hazards or from everyday sounds and noises. Early identification and intervention for hearing loss is important. Many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realize that they are missing certain sounds and words. Checking one’s hearing would be the first step towards addressing the issue.

Do you use your music, your show, or a podcast to shut out the noise around you? Be cautious; hearing loss is real. A volume that lets you hear someone a few feet away is a safer way to go.

 

What you should know about hearing loss

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing—long after exposure has stopped.

This is just one of the many informative facts available on CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health’s new hearing loss website.

Help us spread the word about National Protect Your Hearing Month

#ProtectYourHearingMonth #protectear #hearingloss #hearingprotection #october #noise #hearinnoise

Noise Levels and Exposure (Noise Reduction Rating)

March 16, 2022

Noise Levels and Exposure

Noise reduction headphones are rated in decibels (dB). Before discussing the noise reduction rated values it is important to understand how noise is measured and how to identify, based on those measurements, when hearing protection is required. Noise is measured in units of sound pressure levels called decibels (dB). Typically, an “A” weighted filter is applied to the measurement, dB(A), because it provides measurements that more accurately represent the sensitivity of the human auditory system by de-emphasizing sound energy in the low and high frequencies in comparison to energy in the mid-frequency range.

high noise

What is NRR NOISE REDUCTION RATING (NRR)

A Noise Reduction Rating, also sometimes referred to under the umbrella term of “hearing protection rating,” can be a confusing concept for individuals who are just starting out in the world of hearing protection terminology. To keep it simple, Noise Reduction Ratings are a set of “rules” that are set in place to serve as an absolute point of reference for those who are serious about protecting worker hearing. The NRR essentially functions as a “ruler” that measures how well a particular piece of hearing protection or equipment may work in real-time and space.

Why NRR matters NOISE REDUCTION RATING (NRR)

When it comes to assessing the effectiveness of hearing protection, Specialists often look at the Attenuation Estimation Systems. NRR is a common method (rating) used to determine the attenuation (expressing values of noise reduction or attenuation provided by different types of hearing protectors). The values range from 0 to approximately 30, with higher values indicating greater amounts of noise reduction.

Since the NRR is based on laboratory testing, it does not consider the loss of protection that occurs when hearing protectors are not fit properly or when they are not worn for the entire time that the wearer is exposed to noise.

Learn More about NRR: https://www.protectear.com/field_attenuation_estimation_systems.


#CPE #Customprotectear #hearing #hearingprogram #nrr #noisereductionrating #attenuation #hearinnoise

 

Why more companies and individuals are choosing custom hearing protection!

March 23, 2020

Many people use ear plugs for different reasons. While some people need ear plugs to be able to sleep well, others need them due to workspace loud noise. Even others need to use ear plugs when they swim, to prevent earaches or swimmer’s ear. Some use them simply because they want to enjoy listening to music with no outside noise interference. No matter which category fits your needs, ear plugs can work well for these different situations.

However, there are many different types of ear plugs and they don’t all work the same way or even how you may anticipate they work. One of the main reasons why most people purchase earplugs is to protect their hearing. This is a good thing. However, with so many earplug options out there, it may be difficult to identify the best ones for you. It is important to consider the differences between custom ear plugs and disposable ear-plugs.

What Is A Custom-Molded Ear plug?

dB Blockers™ are a custom-molded earplug is made in a laboratory. A mold is taken of each ear using silicone. dB Blocker™ personalized custom earplugs are made with medical grade silicone material providing a finished product that allow dB Blocker™ earplugs to easily insert into the ear and comfortably, fully fit the ear canal. When the ear or the ear canal slightly changes by talking, chewing, yawning, etc., dB Blockers™ will adapt to the movement.

One of the most recognized and worn custom hearing protection in North America is the dB Blocker™.  dB Blockers™ are hearing protectors made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, giving the wearer a custom fit earplug that can be worn all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation.

What Is A Disposable Ear plug?

Unlike the custom ear plugs, disposable ear plugs are usually made with foam. These kinds of ear plugs can be used once or more times, depending on the manufacturer.

Benefits of dB Blockers over Disposables

dB Blockers™

  • dB Blockers™ hearing protectors fit each employee exactly – eliminating ear pressure
  • Enhance communication in noise on the phone or in conversation
  • Allows the employee to hear warning sounds
  • SkinSoft™ hypoallergenic, non-flammable silicone blend

Disposable Earplugs

  • The fit and level of protection will be different for every employee
  • Removal of the hearing protection is required to communicate
  • Prone to ear infections and flammable
  • Disposable earplugs swell when in contact with water or perspiration
  • Since the hearing protection required varies from worker to worker, some may feel cut off and expose them to greater risk or injury

Why Should You Choose Custom Ear Plugs Instead Of Disposable Ear Plugs?

Custom ear plugs have many advantages when compared to the disposable ear plugs. Despite they also have some disadvantages as everything, the risk-reward is much better when you choose to go with the custom ones.

Protect Ear

Custom Ear Plugs Advantages:

  • Quality:

Since the custom-molded ear plugs are created with the use of molds of the ears and ear canals, this brings additional quality to this product. They are usually able to cancel the noise and prevent the swimmer’s ear much more effectively than the disposal ear plugs.

  • Material:

The soft silicone is usually the best material in what concerns ear plugs. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t foam ear plugs that work well. However, when you have a silicone ear plug, they usually last much longer if you follow the manufacturer instructions. Usually, when you need to clean the ear plug, all that it takes are a few seconds under warm water.

  • Size:

One of the best advantages is that when you buy a custom ear plug, you can be sure that it will fit your ear and ear canal. Even if you have an ear with an unusual shape due to a surgery, disease, or trauma, they will more likely fit you and comply with their purpose.

Normal custom-molded ear plugs are able to provide a Noise Reduction Rating of between 25 to 30 dB. However, some more expensive models can include filters that allow you to increase the NRR. For example, if your work on a very noisy environment like a construction site, for example, you can add the filter to make sure you are able to work without hurting your hearing.

  • Comfort:

Custom-molded ear plugs are much more comfortable than the disposable ear plugs. Since they were made based on the ear and ear canal, you won’t feel any pressure. All that you’ll feel is the same as when you’re using a watch or a ring.

dbblocker
  • Putting Them On And Taking Off:

One of the main problems people have when they’re using a custom-molded ear plug is how to properly put them on and take them off. Since you’ll need to do some rotations, it might be a little hard on the first few times. However, manufacturers usually deliver all the instructions you need and you’ll be able to learn them very quickly.

  • Price:

Usually, there’s a tendency for the custom-molded ear plugs to be more expensive than the disposable ear plugs. However, you need to look at both the price and time they will last. And when you compare both features, you’ll realize that from a environmental, comfort and cost perspective you will see that the custom hearing protectors out way disposable hearing protectors.

Learn how you can get a pair of dB Blockers! 

 

EHS Today – Health and Safety, Sustainability and Corporate Excellence Webinar!

January 6, 2020

EHS

Corporate Success: Connecting Health & Safety, Sustainability and Operational Excellence

FREE WEBINAR

Tuesday, January 21st

Occupational safety and health (OHS) professionals working in organizations are integral to sustainability and operational excellence. In the past, corporate sustainability efforts focused on environmental issues, such as resource usage and emissions reductions.

Attention has turned to other aspects of sustainability, including occupational safety, health and wellness.

Investors break down sustainability into environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, with an expectation companies will report on the measurement and resulting outcome of managing these issues. The safety and health of workers – the human capital – is part of the social dimension of sustainability.

 

REGISTER NOW! 

Seasons Greetings!

December 23, 2019

 From all of us at Custom Protect Ear…

We want at to wish you a Happy Holidays and prosperous New Year.

Thank you for making this year so great. May you and your family have a very merry holiday season and happy New Year.


PLEASE NOTE:
The Custom Protect Ear Office and Lab will be closed
December 23, 2019 and reopen (regular hours) Thursday January 2, 2020.

Critical ways to protect your ears

December 7, 2019

Once your hearing is damaged, it’s gone for good. That’s why we raise awareness about the prevalence of hearing loss, the importance of early diagnosis, and the options for taking action to find the best hearing solution for your needs. We are seeing an influx of wearers requesting using custom hearing protection over disposable – Click here to learn more. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start taking care of your ears! Here are nine easy ways to protect your ears and your hearing health.

 

1. Use hearing protection around loud, intense noises

Earplugs

Approximately 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments.

Clubs, concerts, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and any other noises that force you to shout so the person next to you can hear your voice all create dangerous levels of sound. Earplugs are convenient and easy to obtain. You can even have a pair custom fitted for your ears by your local hearing healthcare provider.

Musicians’ earplugs are custom earplugs with filters that allow a person to hear conversations and music but still reduce harmful sound levels while maintaining the quality of the original sound as closely as possible.

2. Turn the volume down

Headphones

According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe use of audio devices.

If you like to enjoy music through headphones or earbuds, you can protect your ears by following the 60/60 rule. The suggestion is to listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

Earbuds are especially dangerous, as they fit directly next to the eardrum. If possible, opt for over-the-ear headphones.

Don’t forget that any loud music, not just music played through headphones, presents a risk for noise-induced hearing loss. If you’re hosting a social event, keep the music at a volume which won’t force people to shout in order to hold a conversation

3. Give your ears time to recover

Relaxing

If you are exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a bar, your ears need time to recover. If you can, step outside for five minutes every so often in order to let them rest.

What’s more, researchers have found that your ears need an average of 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out.

4. Stop using cotton swabs in your ears

Q-tips

It’s common for people to use cotton swabs to clean wax out of their ear canal, but this is definitely not advisable. A little bit of wax in your ears is not only normal, but it’s also important. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal. Plus, inserting anything inside your ear canals risks damaging sensitive organs like your ear drum.

If you have excess wax, you can clean around the canal with a damp towel—gently. You could also use ear wax removal solution over the course of a few nights. This softens the wax so that it will eventually flow out on its own. The best solution is always to seek a professional opinion and care when possible.

5. Take medications only as directed

Doctor

Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can sometimes contribute to hearing loss. Discuss medications with your doctor if you’re concerned that they’ll impact your hearing ability and take them only as directed.

6. Keep your ears dry

Drying Off

Excess moisture can allow bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which can be dangerous for your hearing ability. Be sure you gently towel-dry your ears after bathing or swimming. If you can feel water in the ear, tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out.

You can also ensure that your ears stay dry and healthy by using custom-fit swimmers’ earplugs, which block water from entering the ear canal. They’re great for adults and kids alike, and they work wonders in preventing swimmer’s ear. Make an appointment with your local hearing health professional to get fitted.

 

7. Get up and move

Fitness

Did you know that exercise is good for your ears? It’s true. Cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including the ears. This helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and working to their maximum potential.

Make sure to stay safe! When cycling, always wear a helmet. If you fall and hit your head, a concussion can harm your hearing.

8. Manage stress levels

Hammock

Stress and anxiety have been linked to both temporary and permanent tinnitus (a phantom ringing in the ears). High levels of stress cause your body to go into fight or flight mode, which is an instinctual reaction that fills your body with adrenaline to help you either fight or flee from danger. This process puts a lot of pressure on your nerves, blood flow, body heat, and more. It’s commonly thought that this pressure and stress can travel up into your inner ear and contribute to tinnitus symptoms.

9. Get regular checkups

Otoscope

Ask your primary care physician to incorporate hearing screenings into your regular checkups. Because hearing loss develops gradually, it’s also recommended that you have annual hearing consultations with a hearing healthcare professional. That way, you’ll be more likely to recognize signs of hearing loss and take action as soon as you do.

Taking action is important because untreated hearing loss, besides detracting from quality of life and the strength of relationships, has been linked to other health concerns like depression, dementia, and heart disease.

Do your ears a favor get customized or personal hearing protection. Learn more . 

What is National Audiology Awareness Month

October 17, 2019

October Is National Audiology Awareness Month
& National Protect Your Hearing Month

Over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss. The statistics are shocking and even more so knowing that over half of those 36 million Americans are younger than age 65 . Hearing loss is an increasing health concern in this nation that is often preventable. Taking time to see an audiologist for regular hearing screenings and knowing the signs of hearing loss can protect your hearing.

Audiologists

The American Academy of Audiology is dedicated to increasing public awareness of audiology and the importance of hearing protection. We have created a variety of educational activity worksheets for parents, teachers, and kids to use in support of this month’s celebration.

Click here to “Find an Audiologist” in your area and make an appointment this October during National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month to get your hearing tested.

Fact Sheets

The Academy has prepared these fact sheets as tools for you to use. Simply download, print, and go. Leave them in the waiting room at your school, the local grocery store, and the community center.

What Is an Audiologist
Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss and Infant Hearing Screening
Hearing Loss in Children
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Hearing Health Quick Test
Noise in the Work Place

Protect Your Hearing

ProtectEar USA,  has been providing custom industrial hearing protectors (earplugs) to Americans for over 36 years. The custom dB Blocker hearing protectors (earplugs) are more effective for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss than disposable earplugs.

We deliver a defect-free custom hearing protection product to our customers on time, every time. Guaranteed. PLUS not only do dB Blockers provide superior hearing protection from hearing loss than foam plugs, but they are also more cost effective as well.

ProtectEar USA, exclusively distributes products developed by North America’s largest personalized industrial hearing protector manufacturer, Custom Protect Ear. Custom Protect Ear manufactures the following products:

dB Blockers™ | dB Blockers™ offer “The Smartest Hearing Protection in the World”, especially where interpersonal communication is required.

dB Com™ | dB Com™ provides custom industrial hearing protection that allows for two-way communication which fits the individual to their work environment, reducing the harmful frequencies they’re exposed to.

dB Life™ | Personal dB BlockersWith dB Life™, conversations become clearer and more engaging; music reveals background sounds and layering, and a good night’s sleep goes uninterrupted.

FitCheck Solo™ FitCheck Solo is ProtectEar’s newest product and is the only Field Attenuation Estimating System (FAES). FitCheck Solo is the latest and most accurate tool in the fight against noise-induced hearing loss.

Metal-Detectible-nonvented

For More information about National Audiology Awareness Month click here


SOURCE

https://www.howsyourhearing.org/awareness.html

Hearing Protection Devices and Solutions

September 17, 2019

Steps can be taken to help protect workers’ hearing in a wide variety of industries.

Millions of workers are exposed to hearing hazards every year, and even though OSHA regulations and NIOSH recommendations in the U.S. specify hearing protection, occupational hearing loss is still the number one reported worker illness in manufacturing. Moreover, noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and irreversible, but avoidable with the help of proper hearing protection and other measures. Here we will explore some hearing protection devices (HPD) and other steps that can be taken to help protect workers’ hearing in a wide variety of industries.

Earplugs

When workers are exposed to loud noise, earplugs can offer low-cost, effective hearing protection. These are soft foam or elastic plugs worn inside the ear canal to help block out hazardous sounds. Earplugs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes so there are many choices for workers. With the right fit and insertion techniques, earplugs can provide adequate protection for many types of noisy situations.

Disposable foam earplugs are the most widely used type of HPD. The soft foam is rolled into a tightly compressed cylinder then inserted into the ear so that it conforms to the unique shape of ear canal. They are relatively low price per pair and can result in a high noise reduction when worn correctly.

Push-to-Fit earplugs are soft foam tips with a flexible stem where there is no need to roll down the foam tips before inserting into the ears. This works well for employees who have difficulty rolling and inserting disposable foam earplugs and can even be inserted when hands are dirty or when wearing gloves.

Reusable or Custom earplugs are washable with flexible, elastic flanges attached to a stem and can be reused multiple times and therefore replaced less, potentially resulting in lower long-term cost. The elastic material doesn’t absorb moisture and works well in wet conditions or when employees perspire heavily. One of these personal HPD’s are called dB Blockers.  The dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, this gives the worker a custom hearing protector (earplug) that they can wear all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation.

dB Blockers has proprietary frequency tuned filters that allow for communication without removal. People can communicate in noise better while wearing their dB Blockers™ hearing protection than if they were to remove them. Your hearing loss prevention program will not interfere with productivity.

Learn more about custom earplugs.

custom-plugs-vs-disposables

Also, metal detectable earplugs have a stainless steel bead encased in the earplug. Popular in food manufacturing industries when contamination prevention is critical, this type of HPD is available in a variety of comfortable earplug styles to meet most wearer preferences and help address a variety of environmental noise hazards. 

Earmuffs

One of the easiest hearing protectors to wear, earmuffs can quickly be adjusted to provide a snug and reliable fit for a wide range of ear and head sizes. Since earmuffs can be less complicated to put on correctly, most users can intuitively learn to wear them. Additionally, earmuffs allow workers to easily put their hearing protection on and take it off throughout the day as needed.

Earmuffs can be reused time and again, and, if properly cleaned, maintained, and stored, can typically be worn up to two or three years. Also, given the size, they are harder to lose than other hearing protectors. This means you may not need to replace earmuffs as often as other types of hearing protectors. Additionally, the easier and more comfortable personal protection equipment is, the more likely employees may be to wear it. Moreover, because earmuffs are can be easier to see from a distance, it may also be easy to monitor that workers are wearing hearing protection.

Advanced Hearing Protection

Advanced Hearing Protection Solutions can help keep the workers’ hearing protected while enabling them to clearly communicate and hear their surroundings. There are two categories of Advanced HPDs: Protective Hearing Solutions and Protective Communication Solutions.

Protective Hearing Solutions allow you to hear normally when it’s quiet and provide protection when it’s loud. This type of HPD can be effective when:

  • There is intermittent, varying, and/or unpredictable noise
  • Workers are tempted to remove their hearing protection to communicate
  • Enhanced situational awareness is desired, e.g. moving vehicles are present, alarms need to be heard, for maintenance personnel
  • Workers move between loud and quiet areas Sometimes, workers may also need hearing protection that can allow them to clearly communicate in noise. These Protective Communication Solutions can help when:
  • People are wearing hearing protection and carrying two-way radios
  • People are trying to talk on their mobile phone in noise

Industrial Hearing loss
Hearing Conservation Program

Employers in the U.S. are required to provide a “continuing, effective hearing conservation program” for employees who are exposed to hazardous noise, according to OSHA. You can advance your hearing conservation program with a customized and comprehensive approach to providing hearing protection. Implementing a solution that really makes a difference begins with an understanding of the hazards, the regulations, and the factors that impact hearing protection. Your program should also consider the six elements of hearing conservation.

Measure.

Accurate measurement of employee exposure to hazardous noise is essential. Conducting noise surveys using appropriate detection instruments can help you identify who is at risk, determine who needs to be included in your program, and select the proper controls and protective equipment to help reduce the risks.

Control.

Certain operations and machinery create high noise levels. But do they have to? Equipment and processes can be designed or altered to be quieter, reducing the number of employees in your conservation program.

Protect.

Hearing protectors play an important role in hearing conservation. They must be comfortable, fit properly, and provide adequate protection for the environment. Compatibility with other PPE and the workers’ ability to communicate must also be considered. Including individual fit testing of earplugs and earmuffs in your program can help you educate your employees on the importance of hearing protection and validate the Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) achieved by each worker.

Check.

Are your employees showing symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss? It’s important to routinely use standardized measurement procedures to check their hearing to detect and record changes, so you can take steps to prevent permanent hearing loss.

Train.

Because noise-induced hearing loss usually happens gradually and the symptoms are not always apparent, it is vital to educate employees on the effects of exposure to loud noise and train them to properly use hearing protection. You may be able to improve the success of your hearing loss prevention efforts by strengthening worker training and motivation programs.

Evaluate.

Make sure your hearing conservation program is working with regular program evaluations that include employee feedback, responsibility reviews, and cost analysis. This will help identify trends, highlight potential problem areas, and drive improvement.

Fit Testing

Fit testing can deliver an objective, quantitative measurement of each employee’s hearing protection, so you can help better protect your workforce while also helping employees understand the importance of proper fit. Fit testing can further help employers because it:

  • Is fast, quantitative, and objective
  • Helps measure the wearer’s personal attenuation rating (PAR) with particular hearing protectors
  • Allows for the opportunity for training to help promote effective fit and

Provides documentation for compliance reporting

A proper hearing conservation program is meant to help measure, control, protect, check, train, record, and evaluate.

Hearing Conservation Manager Digital Programs

It might be in a safety manager’s best interest to invest in a digital system, where hearing conservation managers can track for each worker the results of fit testing, the noise exposure levels experienced given a specific work environment and keep track of overall hearing health data over time. This data can help with selecting the appropriate hearing protection based on exposure in a particular work environment and keeping track of what hearing PPE inventory is needed for the work force.

Using a digital system to gather and store information on how PPE is used in the workplace can help promote regular maintenance for certain PPE assets, as well as help improve the hearing program, overall operations, and safety culture. This may lead to enhanced productivity, compliance, and confidence by workers who feel they are properly feel protected.

People like options. When their personal preferences are considered, employees may be more satisfied and more invested in their work. Employees may wear hearing protection more of the time when they are allowed to choose HPDs that are compatible with their work. Selecting the most comfortable HPD from several options may also increase the likelihood that employees will wear them correctly. Through a well-defined hearing conservation program, safety managers, employers, and hearing conservation managers can help ensure workers are wearing the hearing protection that meets their needs. 


Source:

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2019/09/01/hearing-protection-devices-and-solutions.aspx?admgarea=news

By Carly JohnstonSep 01, 2019


 

Will OSHA Bring The Heat This Summer?

June 17, 2019

 

This past Memorial Day weekend, the southeastern region of the United States experienced a historic heatwave that set all-time records. It’s only going to get hotter, and temperatures throughout the summer can create hazards for workers working both outside and inside. You could be held liable for creating conditions that lead to heat-related injuries and illnesses that may occur during these warm months, so you should take steps now to keep your employees safe and limit your legal exposure.

This past Memorial Day weekend, the southeastern region of the United States experienced a historic heatwave that set all-time records. It’s only going to get hotter, and temperatures throughout the summer can create hazards for workers working both outside and inside. You could be held liable for creating conditions that lead to heat-related injuries and illnesses that may occur during these warm months, so you should take steps now to keep your employees safe and limit your legal exposure.

Current Legal Framework

Although the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a specific standard that covers working in hot environments, the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires you to provide a place of employment that is “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” This includes heat-related hazards. Meanwhile, state OSHA plans in California, Washington, and Minnesota have enacted protective heat standards.

But just because federal OSHA does not have a specific standard in place doesn’t mean it hasn’t spoken on the subject. The agency has issued various Standard Interpretation letters discussing heat stress in workplaces. In a May 2010 Standard Interpretation letter, OSHA provided methods of abating heat stress hazards in workplaces, including permitting workers to drink water or cold liquids (e.g., sports drinks) at liberty, establishing a work/rest regimen so that exposure time to high temperatures and the work rate is decreased, and developing an overall heat stress program.

In August 2014, OSHA again addressed heat-related hazards by announcing that it was once again sponsoring its campaign to “Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.” The agency noted that “thousands of workers experience serious heat-related illnesses every year and dozens are killed,” and that it wanted “to make sure that employers and workers know the steps they can take to prevent heat-related illness and death.”

Pressure To Adopt Federal Standards 

Both of these letters, however, were issued under the previous presidential administration, and the current administration has been largely silent in addressing the issue. Some advocacy groups want to change that and have tried to put heat on OSHA to address the matter head on.

Public Citizen, a consumer and health advocacy group, along with 131 other organizations and 89 other individuals (including farmworker advocacy groups and former OSHA directors), sent a letter to the Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Health and Safety on July 17, 2018 petitioning federal OSHA to establish the first federal standards to protect outdoor and indoor workers from occupational exposure to excessive heat. The petitioning parties cite the effects of global warming and climate change as causing the need for the agency to establish protection for workers from the dangers of exposure to excessive heat.

Public Citizen highlights in its petition that California conducted 50 times more inspections resulting in a citation or violation for unsafe heat exposure practices as federal OSHA did nationwide between 2013 and 2017. The group argues that this disparity supports the federal agency implementing a specific, enforceable heat standard rather than simply relying on the General Duty Clause.

Suggested Criteria

Public Citizen argues any proposed standard should be based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) latest criteria for a recommended standard for occupational exposure to heat and hot environments. The suggested standard includes elements such as:

  • Mandatory Rest Breaks: Mandatory rest breaks away from the hot environment in duration from 15 to 45 minutes per hour at certain heat thresholds.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: When heat exposure levels reach the recommended exposure limit or recommended alert limit, employers must provide PPE to protect workers from heat-related illness. Such PPE may include cooling vests and light-colored, breathable fabric.
  • Shade: Employers must provide access to sufficient areas of shade during the rest breaks.
  • Hydration: Access to water in quantities sufficient to maintain adequate levels of hydration at varying levels of heat, as well as electrolytes if workers are sweating for more than two hours.
  • Heat Acclimatization Plan: Workers beginning work in high-heat environments, or who will be working in hotter conditions than usual, must be gradually acclimatized to the work over a period of at least 7-14 days.

Public Citizen and other groups previously petitioned federal OSHA for a heat standard in 2011. At that point, OSHA formally rejected the petition citing its authority to cite an employer for heat hazards under the General Duty Clause. It appears likely that OSHA maintains that position, as it has not responded to Public Citizen’s July 2018 correspondence. However, Congress – specifically the now Democrat-controlled House – may pressure OSHA to take action when it comes to heat standards.

Despite the lack of a specific standard addressing heat safety, you should follow the NIOSH guidelines when temperatures rise and your employees are exposed to extreme heat.


SOURCES

Fisher Phillips – Nicholas Hulse and Travis W. Vance

Definitive Guide to Hearing Health

March 21, 2019

Article by Amy Andrews, Earpiece Online. 

We all understand how important our ears and hearing are to our everyday life, particularly for people that use radio earpieces. But have you ever thought about how you can keep your ears healthy?

As the old saying goes, ‘you should never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear’. It sounds reasonable until you consider the size of cotton buds, biros, earphones and pinkie fingers. If you think about it, there are a lot of things we put into our ears – and all of them, by default, are smaller than our elbows. …But those things are all safe, right? I mean, how much damage could the corner of a towel really do?

Well, as it turns out, quite a lot.

In fact, most earwax blockages result from the improper use of a simple cotton bud. That got your attention, didn’t it? Cotton buds are not actually designed to go inside your ear canal (or anybody else’s for that matter – this isn’t limited just to you). Often, shoving a cotton bud into your ear simply compacts the wax that’s already in there. Making a kind of, I don’t know, SUPER WAX, which then needs to be removed by professionals.

So, if you are, shall we say, ‘delving too deeply into the unknown’, the wax you are trying to get OUT of your ears can slide even further INTO your ears. Pushing against the tide of migrating cells, where it all compacts and accumulates like, um, a great big ball of ear wax (I didn’t have a good simile there. Sorry). Anyway, that’s how regular use of cotton buds and other ear-bound items can have a fairly bad effect on the health of your ears

Even going as far as to affect the quality of your hearing. So you see, there is a lot of truth to that old saying about elbows and ears!

K, so your inner ear is itchy, getting out and that paperclip on your desk seems as good a tool as any. Perhaps it would be OK to give it a quick scratch? Just for a few seconds of blessed relief? No. No it wouldn’t. In fact, your ear won’t get nearly as itchy if you follow these simple tips…

  • Leave it Alone! The ear is actually self-cleaning, so if earwax isn’t the problem, you’re actually better off leaving it alone. Interrupting the process only makes things worse, hence all the itchy. Earwax (or cerumen) is a normal part of the ear’s function. It helps to protect and lubricate your ears. It even has antibacterial properties. Without the mighty wax-wizard Cerumen, your ears would be itchy, dry and uncomfortable all the time.
  • Of course, we all need to ‘clear the neighborhood’ on occasion. The safest way to do this is by taking a damp cloth and gently cleaning the outer areas of your ears. Cotton balls are also good here, provided you don’t insert them into your ear canal.
  • Earwax softener is widely available and can make the process of cleaning your ears considerably easier.
  • Talk to your doctor about removing any waxy build-ups during your exam/check-up/social event that you’re both attending (My doctor never had any problems with it. Sadly, I was told that he unexpectedly moved to Peru right after I asked him about earwax at his Niece’s Bat Mitzvah. Shame that).
  • No Sharp Objects! – Never use sharp or pointed objects in your ears. Also, avoid ear candles (while we’re at it, never try to make your own candles from ear wax – they smell funny).
  • You might also want to irrigate your ears with a syringe. This process involves gently rinsing out your ears with saline solution. For best results, use a wax softener about 15 – 30 minutes beforehand.

It may seem obvious, but the level of care and attention you give to your ears directly affects the quality of your hearing. So, it is definitely worth looking after your ears.

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