Tuesday, August 28, 2007

HEARING PROTECTION

Imagine what it would be like to live without being able to hear! Hearing enables you to carry on a conversation, to enjoy your favorite music on your CD player at home or on your truck or car radio. On the job you can hear the back-up alarms on bi-directional earthmoving equipment, or the warning sound of a crane horn letting you know that the crane is about to swing around or move a load overhead. Think about it -- if you lost the ability to hear, you most certainly would also lose your job.

Many areas around the work site have high noise levels and each of us needs to take the proper steps in preventing injury to our hearing. Subpart E of the OSHA Standard addresses hearing protection and it states that where feasible, engineering and administrative controls shall be utilized to protect workers from sound levels in excess of Permissible Noise Exposure Table. This table tells us that we can work in an area 8 hours a day with a decibel level of 90. We can also work in an area of 100 decibels, but only for 2.hours. Finally, at the high end of the table we can only work 15 minutes in an area of 115 decibels.

Exposure to impulsive or impart noise should not exceed 140 decibel peak sound pressure level.

When engineering and administrative controls fail to reduce sound levels, ear protective devices (ear plugs, ear muffs) shall be provided by your employer and they must be used! Plain cotton is not an acceptable protective device.

Our employer is responsible for requiring the wearing of hearing protection in all operations where there is exposure to high noise levels. As an employee, obey warning signs that tell you hearing protection is required - use common sense -- if the noise is loud, use protection.

Both loud and impulse noise can slowly destroy your hearing. Wearing protection is your best bet against hearing loss. Wear ear muffs or plugs -- they can make the difference.

WHEN OPERATING EQUIPMENT NEAR POWER LINES, YOU MUST USE EXTREME CAUTION. IF THE LINE IS LESS THAN 50 kv, THE MINIMUM SAFE DISTANCE IS 10 FEET.

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