Industry leaders in every field value the importance of safety for employees and managers. However, this emphasis on safety is even more important in fields that include high levels of occupational noise exposure, such as the mining field. Business owners and industry leaders who care about providing employees with appropriate protection while simultaneously boosting communication, productivity, and on-the-job health may want to consider the information below concerning the importance of double hearing protection.
Double hearing protection is exactly what it sounds like: double the hearing protection. This method of hearing protection is achieved when two forms of hearing protection are applied simultaneously. For example, if an employee decided to wear both earplugs and a hearing protection headset device at the same time during a dangerously loud task, he or she would be partaking in double hearing protection (also often referred to as “dual protection”).
While double hearing protection is not stated as a requirement within OSHA rules and regulations, many more specific industry operations have set guidelines that clearly state double hearing protection as a requirement for safety. One of the industry specific operations is the Mine Safety & Health Administration, also often referred to as MHSA. The Mine Safety & Health administration requires miners to wear double hearing protection when noise exposure equates to a dBa greater than 105. The advisory and research board backing OSHA has an equally strong recommendation, stating that those who work in environments that are 100 dBa and more should wear double hearing protection.
ReasoningTo some, these regulations may seem overly cautious and even superfluous. Why the “fuss?” Industry leaders have placed double hearing protection regulations in place for a few different reasons. One of the primary reasons for these regulations involves the knowledge that many workers working within environments of overly-loud noise exposure neglect to wear their protective hearing equipment correctly. Whether or not this neglect is purposeful or not, no one knows; however, the truth remains that workers may not be as protected as they need to be when using only one form of hearing protection at a time.
How much protection is truly achieved by using the double hearing protection method? Usually there is a combined reduction in noise that is between 4 and 8 decibels. This means that any “normal” hearing protection system is given a 4 to 8 decibel “boost” in hearing protection beyond normal parameters. 4 to 8 decibels may not sound like much; however, these small differences may result in up to 85% of dangerous noise reduction. Clearly, an 85% reduction in dangerous noise significantly decreases workers’ risks of developing hearing damage and other noise-related damage. Learn more about the impact of hearing protection on the job may want by downloading the mining case study below. These testimonies and the testimonies of many more industry leaders point to the imperative nature of hearing protection in overly loud work environments. Those who are serious about providing safe environments for employees should carefully consider the aforementioned information and apply it when choosing safety equipment.
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