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When is hearing protection mandatory?

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It is mandatory for the employee to use hearing protection if the daily average dose exceeds 85 dB(A).

But the Occupational Health and Safety Act provides more rules and guidelines for when hearing protection is mandatory.

Above 80 decibels, the "bells start ringing. Perhaps hearing protection is not mandatory then, but it is recommended.

We provide optimal hearing protection with otoplastics at 80+ decibels in the workplace.

Hearing protection more than just mandatory

Too much noise in the workplace has unpleasant consequences for hearing. Therefore, noise-induced hearing loss acquired during work is a regular occurrence. Hearing protection is therefore an adequate means of preventing hearing damage. What are the consequences for workers when they are exposed to too much noise and what rules apply to this noise nuisance in current legislation?

What does the Occupational Health and Safety Act say about too much noise in the workplace?

The Working Conditions Act, commonly called the Occupational Health and Safety Act, regulates at what noise levels employees are required to work with hearing protection and when employers are required to offer it. The law assumes a daily dose of noise measured over an 8-hour workday.

Below you can read from how many decibels hearing protection is mandatory:

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to make hearing protection available when noise in the workplace exceeds 80 dB(A) daily. Employees are not yet required to use this hearing protection.
  • Once the sound volume reaches 83 dB(A), employees may only work for 4 hours without hearing protection. In such a situation, the conditions must be met that there is "no unacceptable risk of hearing damage. Moreover, there must then be no high noise level in the remaining 4 hours.
  • Employees are, however, required to wear hearing protection for the entire working period when they are exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 dB (A) on a daily basis.
  • A Plan of Action must also be made if the level exceeds 85 dB (A).
  • If a noise level of 87 dB (A) is measured in the ear (taking into account the fact that employees are already wearing noise protectors by then), then immediate action must be taken to reduce this excess noise immediately.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act further states that employers must adequately educate their staff about the danger that noise can pose.
  • Employees also have the right to take a hearing test. That way they can check whether the measures taken are proving effective.

How are noise levels measured?

You can determine the sound level with a decibel meter. This indicates the sound level in decibels (dB). When measuring, a so-called A-filter is applied. This takes into account the sensitivity of the ear to different sound frequencies. Therefore, the sound level is expressed in dB(A).

How loud is 80 dB (A) really?

The amounts of decibels our ears have to endure really become clear when made concrete. Having a normal conversation with someone corresponds to a sound volume of about 60 dB (A). Can you no longer understand someone standing 1 meter away or do you have to raise your voice continuously? Then chances are that the noise is above 80 dB(A). Employees will not always experience a sound volume above 80 decibels as unpleasant or painful. As a result, they do not always realize that daily exposure to excessive noise levels can eventually cause damage to their hearing. It is therefore wise to start using hearing protection as early as 80 dB (A).

What are the consequences of much and loud noise?

Hearing problems caused by excessive noise levels in the workplace are one of the most common occupational diseases. Not only do workers experience worsening hearing, but they may also suffer from tinnitus or tinnitus. In many cases, long-term exposure to noise is the cause. Excessive noise levels occur in all kinds of occupational groups. Not only construction workers, farmers, defense personnel, wood and metal workers, police officers or truck and forklift drivers are affected. DJs, musicians and people working in nightlife, swimming pools, gymnasiums, recreation centers and daycare centers are also more at risk of permanent hearing damage.

What can companies do about noise themselves?

In addition to noise-induced hearing loss or noise-induced deafness, high noise levels can also cause concentration problems, stress, fatigue and increased blood pressure. It is therefore important for companies to prevent such problems as much as possible. After all, every organization benefits from healthy and well-functioning staff. One way to do this is to invest in quieter production methods and machines that make less noise. Soundproof booths can also reduce nuisance. In addition, employers could choose to expose employees to noise for fewer hours a day.

Optimal hearing protection with custom otoplastics

Apart from the fact that hearing protection above 85 dB(A) is mandatory, employers can extensively inform their staff about the dangers of noise and encourage them to wear hearing protection even at noise levels of 80 dB(A).

Employees especially benefit greatly from custom-made otoplastics. These earplugs are completely tailored to the person wearing them and guarantee optimal wearing comfort. Otoplastics reduce the noise level by about 15 to 25 dB(A). Moreover, they can be fitted with different filters. This makes it possible to provide the right protection against any noise source.

Hearing protection is mandatory! Audinc provides hearing protection for the metal, industrial, security, printing, nightlife, construction and food industries.

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