It is common knowledge these days that once hearing is damaged, there is very little that can be done to make it better again. Employers in all types of occupations have a responsibility to ensure that workers are not exposed to dangerous noise levels, and to provide protection for those who are exposed, so that damage to their hearing is minimised. There are many ways that employers can manage the risks of hearing damage, but in many cases these will only have the positive effect intended if the employees play their part in the process.
According to the Health and Safety Executive there are a few key rules to which all employees should adhere:
Cooperation: When your employer provides you with equipment or systems to minimise your exposure to damaging noise levels, you must use them appropriately.
Wear the protection provided: You should ensure that if you are provided with personal protective equipment, you should use it as it was intended, and not remove it while in noisy areas.
Care for PPE: You should take care not to damage any PPE given to you and ensure that you are using it properly – if you are unsure you must check with your employer.
Report any problems: If your PPE doesn’t work, doesn’t fit, or is in any way not suitable for the purpose, you have a responsibility to notify your employer.
There is a range of methods used for hearing protection; in many cases solutions can be found which reduce the noise, rather than increase the protection from the noise, but where loud noises can not be avoided, Personal Protective equipment is often the best way to minimise risk. These come in three main types:
Earmuffs should totally cover the ears with no gaps around the seals. They should be suitably tight to protect the ears without being so tight as to be uncomfortable.
Earplugs can be for single use only, or in some cases for frequent use. Ensure that you are using the correct type for the work that you are doing, and ensure that they are fitted properly; in some cases they can look as if they are in place, but not actually be performing as they are meant to.
Semi-inserts or caps must be worn properly or the noise reduction effect can be minimal – make sure you read any instructions provided with your PPE and if you are unsure, discuss your concerns with your employer immediately.
If you have had your hearing damaged through excessive noise in your workplace, it is quite possible you will be eligible to make a claim for compensation. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get the pay out you deserve.