Helping Reluctant Workers Protect Their Hearing
Sponsored by OHD, LLLP
Ear protection isn’t the most stylish or fashionable thing to wear, and it can certainly impede your ability to have a conversation. Many people see and read the signs around industrial areas that highlight the importance of wearing PPE, but many also choose to ignore these warnings and carry on with their jobs without wearing any sort of protection. Wearing hearing protection is incredibly important in order to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and other noise-related health conditions, and it’s important for employers to ensure their workers are wearing the correct PPE to ensure that they are not liable for any injury-at-work claims.
Acoustic Engineer Bernard Fogarty has 30 years’ experience in noise measurement, and there are very few scenarios he hasn’t come across during that time. Unfortunately, one issue that continues to pop up is employees who show a stubborn reluctance toward wearing hearing protection.
Bernard was asked to undertake an acoustic study for a well-known drinks manufacturer in Ireland that was concerned over noise levels in a plant where employees were regularly seen bypassing noise protection equipment.
Bernard purchased 13 doseBadge5 personal dosimeters from OHD/Cirrus Research to enable him to comprehensively monitor a group of employees over a five-day period, on a 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. shift.
“This is a company that takes employee welfare extremely seriously, and they needed to have up-to-date and accurate data to establish if noise levels were going over the 85db limit, and for how long,” he explained.
“I had some of the workers telling me they already knew the noise levels were fine and so they didn’t need hearing protection. The data I was collecting was actually going to be an education process for the employees, as much as letting the company know if there were any issues around noise levels.”
The plant environment where Bernard was monitoring is processing-based with drink manufacturing and bottling all taking place under one roof. The factory has been in operation for some time, and the noise levels on the factory floor were exacerbated by some of the older machinery—metal on metal, bottle on metal—that couldn’t be engineered out.
“The noise never ceases, and as I was looking around I could see there were people not wearing ear muffs or ear plugs,” Bernard said. “People often complain they are uncomfortable or they can’t hear if someone is talking to them, but the limits are there for their own protection and need to be enforced.”
Find out the outcome and solution for this Case Study on OHD’s website.