Protect Your Hearing: Do Your Part – PPE Only Works if You Use It
Employers, supervisors, and workers all have a role to play when it comes to safety. Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace, supervisors should enforce the employer's safety and health program, and workers need to use the safety equipment provided.
The good news is that use of hearing protection appears to be increasing. Last year, when active (U.S.) members were asked in a survey how frequently they use hearing protection, 30% said "Always." Roughly one year later, that number rose to 42%. While that is a good sign, the survey also showed there is still confusion over when to wear hearing protection.
Many members believe they only need to wear hearing protection when performing a high noise task like cutting brick or when the noise level hurts their ears. In fact, hearing protection should be worn whenever the noise level is high – which on most construction sites is all the time. If you need to raise your voice to talk with a co-worker who is 2 to 3 feet away – you should be wearing hearing protection. If the noise level is hurting your ears, it is probably causing permanent damage.
Play it safe. Wear hearing protection. To learn more about why the the benefits outweigh the drawbacks visit IMI's Tool Kit and click on the Safety Toolbox Talk on Hearing Protectection at www.imiweb.org.