Ear Protection 101: The Importance of Hearing Protection on Jobsites
If you have a lot of construction expenses, you may look for areas where you can cut back. But don't reduce your budget for hearing protection for your employees.
When they work all day in a loud site, they need to protect their hearing before they lose it. Luckily, the right hearing protection devices can help.
Keep reading to learn why ear protection matters and how to educate your employees on the subject.
Do Your Employees Know They Should Wear Hearing Protection?
Sometimes, all you need to do to encourage employees to use hearing protection is to talk to them about it. You can have a meeting with the entire team or meet with employees to discuss the issue individually.
If someone simply doesn't know why ear protection is an important part of workplace safety, they might not think about it. Some construction sites are loud but not necessarily loud enough to irritate your ears.
Make sure all of your construction employees know they should use hearing protection while on the job. You can even set a good example by wearing something with you to visit a Jobsite.
How Loud Are Common Construction Site Noises?
Next, you and your construction employees should know what common noises to expect at a Jobsite. But you should also know how loud common noises can be.
You can use the decibel scale to measure the volume of some common sounds. For example, a typical conversation is at about 60 dB (decibels).
- 85 dB: city traffic
- 100 dB: tractor
- 110 dB: chainsaw, leaf blower
- 120 dB: jackhammer
The louder a sound is, the less time you can withstand hearing it without hearing protection. You can withstand 85 dB for up to 8 hours. However, a sound at 100 dB is only tolerable for 15 minutes.
Luckily, good hearing protection can make these sounds more tolerable. Then, your employees can work for longer.
Can You Hear From a Metre Away?
If your employees still don't understand why hearing protection is so important, do a test with them. Stand one meter from your employees and speak at your normal volume.
Then, do so when there is some work going on around. If you have to raise your voice for someone to hear you from a meter away, that's a sign you need ear protection.
You can even have them talk to you so that they can see they have to raise their voice. That can be an easy way to help someone understand why hearing protection is essential in construction.
Do Your Employees Like Their Hearing Protection?
Sometimes, forcing your employees to wear hearing protectors can be difficult. So give your workers a choice in the decision.
While you may want everyone to wear some form of protection, consider offering different types of protection. Some people may prefer the convenience of earplugs while others would want to use earmuffs.
If you can give people something they want to wear, they'll be more likely to wear it. Then, you can make sure your staff stays safe when working.
You can also find a variety of earmuffs and earplugs in different sizes. Give employees a chance to try a couple of things so that they can find what works best.
What Types of Hearing Protection Are Available?
If possible, have your employees try hearing protection in front of you. You can make sure they find something that works well and is comfortable.
Then, you can know what each person has decided to wear. So if you go to the worksite and see someone isn't wearing their ear protection, you can remind them.
As you and your employees shop for hearing protection, consider a few factors that can affect the best products. You can review each of these things with your employees so that they understand why each factor matters and can affect hearing protection.
How Does It Help With Noise Reduction?
Consider how loud your construction sites typically get. Then, you can make sure to order products that are protective enough.
However, you should also consider if employees may need some hearing. If they need to talk to each other a lot or if there are some alarms, employees should have products that don't block noise completely.
If you have different worksites, you may need to consider a couple of options. That way, you can have the right protection for different projects.
Is the Ear Protection Comfortable?
In New Zealand, the law states that your employees shouldn't be exposed to more than 85 dB on average for 8 hours. If you have longer shifts, you'll also need to consider comfortable hearing protection.
When looking at comfort, consider the size and how easy the product is to clean. If dust or earwax gets on the earmuff or earplug, you should be able to clean it easily before your employee uses it again.
The right size can also make a huge difference in how easy something is to wear. Have your employees try a few sizes and markdown what fits each person the best.
Do Your Employees Wear Other PPE?
If your employees need to wear other personal protective equipment, their hearing protection devices shouldn't affect that. In some cases, earplugs can be the better option due to their size.
Your employees can wear earplugs with most construction hats or helmets. But if head protection isn't as important, earmuffs might also work.
On the other hand, your employees may need to use earplugs and earmuffs if the worksite is extremely loud. That way, they can block out as much sound as possible.
How Much Does the Hearing Protection Cost?
You and your employees should also consider how much hearing protection costs. If you're buying the protection, let your employees know that so that they can get the best product for them.
You can place a bulk order to cover everyone in your company, and you can have some backup protection if someone loses or breaks theirs. Ordering as a company can also help you ensure everyone gets the protection they need.
However, you can also ask employees to pay for their earplugs or earmuffs. But they may want to choose a cheaper option, which could sacrifice their hearing.
Where Should You Shop for Hearing Protection?
Hearing protection is essential for anyone who works on a construction site. If you have employees in need of earmuffs or earplugs, you should talk to them about the equipment.
That way, they can all understand why their hearing is at risk. Then, they may have more motivation to choose the best ear protection to use at work.
Are you ready to buy hearing protection for your construction team? Shop our ear protection section today.