Air2 employees wear their preferred hearing protection while providing aerial energy construction services.
22 million people are exposed to potentially dangerous noise levels at work. Of those people, about 70% do not wear hearing protection. Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible. For employees who work in loud environments, such as the construction industry, risks must be understood and precautions must be taken to prevent permanent hearing damage, leading to life-long impacts.
Inside the ear are tiny hairs. When sounds are received, the eardrum and bones around it vibrate, causing hair cells of the inner ear to also vibrate. Exposure to loud noise over a period of time damages the hair cells, which causes hearing loss.
The first step to protect hearing is to avoid exposure to loud noises, which includes personal (earbuds, concerts, fireworks, leaf blowers) and occupational (forklifts, helicopters, bulldozers) noise.
OSHA recommends avoiding exposure to noise above 85 decibles. But how loud is 85 decibles? Think of it this way. If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone an arm’s length away, you are likely in an environment that could cause hearing damage.
What if you can’t limit your time in loud environments? Then protect your hearing with personal protective equipment (PPE). Choose the right type of hearing protection by considering not only which is the best for the job, but also for your body.
Earplugs: Earplugs provide an air-tight seal in the ear canal, reducing the noise level received. Earplugs come in several forms (premolded, custom molded, formable, canal caps) for the comfort and fit of each individual.
Earmuffs: Earmuffs reduce noise levels by surrounding the outside of the ear. Some even have the ability to cancel loud sound surges. These may not work as well for people with facial hair or glasses.
Earplugs and earmuff can be worn simultaneously to increase reduction of noise. Regardless of the preferred type of hearing protection, always ensure PPE is not damaged prior to use.
“The hearing protection devices that we provide our employees protect them against damage from occupational noise exposure. As part of our PREVENT safety system, we discuss within our teams when hearing protection must be worn and ensure that all employees on the team are appropriately protecting themselves,” said Safety, Health, and Environmental Vice President Elsie Bentley. “
PLH Group is a leading full-service construction and specialty contractor that serves the electric power and pipeline markets. PLH Group has assembled a North American team of top-quality companies that deliver services covering the broad range of needs of its customers – from pipeline construction and related directional drilling to electric transmission, distribution, and substation construction, including specialized foundations and helicopter airborne operations. Safety, expertise, and collaboration distinguish PLH Group’s diversified infrastructure service solutions.