Your ears and how they hear sounds are an integral part of what makes you act and react to your surroundings. When it comes to educating and training your workforce on safe work practices it is important that they clearly hear and understand what it is that you are communicating to them. The importance of a good hearing conservation program cannot be underestimated. If there are high noise areas within your operations then noise monitoring must be conducted to learn if hearing protection is necessary. Exposure to high noise levels for extended periods of time can have lifelong effects on a person’s ability to hear and understand what is being communicated to them. If noise monitoring confirms that workers are exposed to noise levels at or above 85 dBA, a hearing conservation program should be developed and implemented. The program includes a policy and procedure. The OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95 on Occupational Noise Exposure recommends that a hearing conservation program include the following elements:
- Hazard identification and exposure monitoring;
- Control methods (using the hierarchy of controls);
- Hearing protection devices (selection, use, and maintenance);
- Audiometric testing;
- Hazard communication, education, and training;
- Recordkeeping; and
- Continuous monitoring and improvement (program review).
Please contact us at any time if you have questions related to EHS education and training in your work environment. For more information contact Tony Smith – ISRI’s Director of Safety Outreach.