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Hearing Protection

General Information
When we are exposed to loud noises over long periods of time, we are at an increased risk of losing our ability to hear. The tiny cells in our inner ear that are most likely to be damaged are those that allow us to hear noises in the frequency range of the human voice.

How to reduce sound levels
  • Sound is additive. Reducing the number of noise sources will reduce exposure to noise.
  • Sound, wanted or unwanted, can damage hearing. Turning up the radio to drown out ‘unwanted noise’ increases one’s exposure to noise.
  • Sound levels can sometimes be reduced by installing sound absorption materials or by reducing the amount of vibration of equipment.

Hearing Protection
If we cannot prevent exposure to sound, we can reduce exposure by the use of hearing protection. To determine the best type of hearing protection for any particular application, it is best to know a few things about the work environment, such as:
  • The sound levels, which can be measured using a sound level meter
  • The duration of time spent in noisy environments
  • The degree to which sound levels vary in the work environment

Proper Use of Hearing Protection
Hearing protection should not cause you discomfort. If it does, ask if there are other options that you can try.
  • If foam earplugs are used, they should be inserted correctly into the ear. This is done by squeezing the earplug so that it’s compressed fully, then opening the ear canal by pulling on the top part of the ear with the opposite hand, and carefully sliding the foam earplug into the ear. It is important to hold the earplug in place for 15 seconds, so that it expands properly inside the ear canal.
  • Earmuffs are easy to use, but may not offer the same level of protection as most ear plugs. Always check the Noise Reduction Rating of the earmuff or ear plug to ensure you have the right level of protection.

Thought Provoking Questions
  • What are the primary sources of noise in your work area?
  • What actions can be taken to reduce the level of noise in your work area?
  • If you’re required to wear ear protection, does it fit properly and is it effective?
U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA Issues Proposed Rule to Update Hazard Communication Standard

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a proposed rule to update the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

OSHA expects the HCS update will increase worker protections, and reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by further improving the information on the labels and Safety Data Sheets for hazardous chemicals. Proposed modifications will also address issues since implementation of the 2012 standard, and improve alignment with other federal agencies and Canada.

Individuals may submit comments identified by Docket No. OSHA-2019-0001, electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Read the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submitting comments is April 19, 2021.

OSHA has preliminarily determined that the proposed modifications would enhance the effectiveness of the standard by improving dissemination of hazard information so employees are more appropriately apprised of exposure to chemical hazards in the workplace. 

Established in 1983, the Hazard Communication Standard provides a standardized approach to workplace hazard communications associated with exposure to hazardous chemicals. OSHA updated the standard in 2012 to align with the third revision of the United Nations’ GHS to provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information.
Brandon Black - (515) 577-5198 or Brandon@IowaCSSI.com 
Michael Messer - (319) 572-3595 or Michael@IowaCSSI.com
Mark Wieland - (515) 577-7622 or Mark@IowaCSSI.com
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WORKSAFE is a partnership between Master Builders of Iowa and Iowa OSHA, with safety services provided by Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. For more information on the WORKSAFE program or for safety inquiries, please contact one of the CSSI safety professionals at info@iowacssi.com

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