Employers must provide hearing protection to all workers who are exposed to noise levels of 85dB or above for periods of 8 hours.
There are several different types of ear protection that are designed for different situations. It’s important that you identify every source of loud noise at your workplace and determine which type of hearing protection is best suited for that environment.
The PPE provided should include earplugs as well as ear muffs. Note that neither headphones or hearing aids can replace hearing protective devices.
Keep in mind that simply providing PPE is not enough. It is the employer’s responsibility to train employees on how to use ear protection. This includes how to select the right PPE, put it on and take it off, as well as when to do so. Workers must also be made aware of the importance behind hearing conservation programs.
It’s also very important to inspect and maintain ear protection devices to ensure their ability to protect the user. Any time that a change in working conditions alters noise levels or increases noise exposure, PPE should be reevaluated.
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