• Tips To Ensure The Best Possible Hearing Protection In The Workplace

Hearing loss due to noise exposure is permanent and can be 100% preventable. Surgery and hearing aids can’t correct noise-induced hearing damage, but correct implementation of appropriate hearing protection measures can, and often will prevent hearing problems. Effective workplace hearing protection for employees exposed to potentially hazardous noise, is crucial for workplace safety.

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent hearing loss in the workplace and below are some tips.

  1. Identify Noise Hazards: Enabling those who may be exposed to excessive noise to be identified so their exposures can be assessed. No special skills are needed to conduct noise identification, but it should be done in consultation with those who understand the work processes, affected employees and/or their employee representative(s). Please refer to Safe Work Australia for a checklist and further advice.
  2. Undertake A Noise Assessment: All workplaces where employees may be exposed to noise exceeding the National Standard for Occupational Noise [NOHSC: 1007(2000)] should be assessed unless the exposure to noise can be reduced below the National Standard immediately. Please refer to Safe Work Australia for how to carry out a noise assessment.
  3. Arrange Hearing Tests: Talk to employees about their hearing and exposure to noise levels. Ensure that those employees with possible hearing concerns are tested, as they may require more workplace hearing protection than their colleagues.
  4. Use Suitable Hearing Protection: Ensure employees use suitable hearing protection and note that the removal of personal hearing protectors for even short periods of time can significantly reduce their effectiveness and result in inadequate protection.
  5. Know How To Fit and Wear Hearing Protection Correctly: Ensure there’s a tight seal with the ear canal (for earplugs) or against the side of the head (for earmuffs). Hair and clothing shouldn’t be in the way. For earplugs, most of the foam body should be in the ear canal. Also provide (in poster format if possible) full manufacturer fitting instructions to your staff.
  6. Time Out Periods: Ensure there are time out periods for those wearing hearing protection. Due to the difficulties of wearing personal hearing protectors for long periods of time in certain environments, regular brief periods in quiet areas, without the personal hearing protectors, should be included as part of the personal protection program.

Personal Hearing Protection - Earmuffs vs Earplugs

The two options for workplace hearing protection are earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs typically have an NRR of between 22 and 33 decibels while earmuffs have an NRR of between 20 and 30 decibels.

Generally, fit and comfort are the main factors to be considered when choosing which option is best, however in some situations, wearing both earplugs and ear muffs is optimal to maximise hearing protection .

At Bunzl Safety we can assist! Below are just some of the products/services we provide for personal hearing protection:

3M E-A-Rfit Validation System It’s Fast, Quantitative, Educational & Objective

E-A-Rfit is a service program to help validate hearing protection and compliance with hearing protection fit testing. It delivers an objective, quantitative measurement of each employee's protection, so you can better protect your workforce while helping employees understand the importance of proper fit. Please contact your local sales representative for this service.

3M™ E-A-Rsoft™ FX™ Uncorded Earplugs (Code: 312-1261)
• Soft, pliable foam offers comfort for wearing over an extended time
• Slow recovery foam effectively seals the ear canal and helps provide reliable hearing protection
• Class 5 Hearing protection for noise levels up to 112dB (A)

Frontier Class 5 Corded Foam Ear Plugs (Code: FRPLUGCRD)
• Soft PU memory foam for comfort
• Hi-vis colour to identify wearer compliance • Class 5 Hearing protection for noise levels up to 112dB (A)

Frontier Class 5 Hi Vis Overhead Ear Muffs (Code: FREARMUFF)
Add that extra level of safety with the Frontier hi-vis Class 5 overhead ear muff - offering both high visual identification and supreme protection for the wearer. Its’ durable stainless steel wire construction provides strength, and comfort is assured with a padded headband and easy adjustment system for a more custom fit.

3M Class 5 Peltor Intrinsically Safe Lite-Com Pro II Radio Headset (Code: 3MMT7H7A5010-AZ050)
The Lite-Com II system delivers high noise attenuation with added two-way communications capability. A radio built into the shell provides effective and effortless short range two-way communication. Sudden impulse noises, at harmful levels are also immediately attenuated. Ideal for manufacturing, oil & gas environments, and assembly work.

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About Bunzl Safety

Bunzl Safety offers an integrated approach to the selection, supply, service, and replacement of safety products, resulting in our ability to manage the complete life cycle of your personal and workplace safety requirements. Bunzl Safety is a leading manufacturer of safety products, we provide the very best in workwear, corporate wear, PPE, footwear, materials handling, load restraint and recovery, height safety, and site safety. We are also a leading supplier of some of the best industrial safety brands on the market, including Mack, Ninja, Contego, Boomerang, Beaver, B-Safe, WS Workwear, Frontier, Black Rat, Robertsons, Grippaz, 3M, Honeywell, Ansell, Bolle Safety, DuPont, Donaghys, MSA, Moldex, Steel Blue, Oliver, uvex, Sqwincher, MaxiFlex, DNC Workwear, Mayo Hardware, Gunnebo Industries, DNC Workwear, Skylotech and Blundstone. We also offer a range of services including product specialisation and consolidation, custom embroidery and branding, lifting equipment and inspections, NATA Accredited testing and services, height safety installed systems and training, managed inventory, eCommerce and digital solutions, clothing fitouts and yearly uniform issues, ethical sourcing, Indigenous Engagement, and environmental responsibility. We have an Australian wide network of branches that ensure fast shipping across the country.