Hearing protection equipment plays a vital role in protecting employees from noise-induced hearing loss and damage of eardrums. Employees should in turn take care of the equipment that takes care of them. Hearing protection needs proper maintenance so that it is kept in a hygienic, good and safe working condition.

Employers are required by law to provide hearing protection to employees who work in areas where noise decibels exceed acceptable levels. Employers should also ensure that employees are trained about how to take care of hearing protection. Below are a few tips as to how hearing protection should be handled and maintained.

Earmuffs should be wiped gentle with a damp cloth after each use so that they are safe for the next person to use in cases where PPE is share by employees. This ensures that at the end of each shift earmuffs are sanitised to kill germs and any infectious bacteria. This would by far reduce any cases of illnesses like suffering from ear infections.

Employees should ensure that they store hearing protection equipment in a safe place away from direct sunlight and any other hazards like dust. Safe storage of such equipment elongates its life. Most ear plugs are made of rubber and sunlight radiation and excessive heat can weaken the material.

Wash reusable earplugs every day and store them in a clean closable case. Employees should be skilled to identify hard or discoloured earplugs. These are clear signs that earplugs need replacement. Employees should desist from using harsh detergent when washing ear plugs as they discolour and weaken ear plugs. Also some detergent are not skin friendly as considering that an ear is a sensitive body part, it could contribute to skin irritations and infections. Plugs should be dried thoroughly after cleaning and should not be used when wet or moist as these can be breeding grounds for germs.

Canal caps, also known as headband plugs, should be wiped with a damp cloth after every use and should be stored properly. Employees should ensure that they store canal caps in such a way that the headband won't get bent or twisted. In cases where employees see that the band is damaged or earplugs no longer fit comfortably, they should report to the authorities so that they can be issued with a replacement. However, employers should also establish causes of damage to PPE and find means of controlling or improving misuse or quick damage of PPE.

The cushions on the earplugs play a vital role in increasing protection hence; employees should ensure that they check them regularly for defects or wearing out. Cushions that have lost resilience should be replaced immediately.

Earplugs should be stored separately away from any other equipment to ensure that they do not break or getting crushed by other equipment. Also, employees should be encouraged to store their earplugs in a hygienic place at all times so that PPE is not only safe but also clean to use.

Taking care of safety personal equipment is taking care of yourself and of your job. They are not part of status quo but they are meant to safe-guard you as an employee from safety-hazards which could affect you even after you leave the workplace. Employers should ensure that employees are constantly trained and reminded about using, cleaning and maintaining their PPE correctly and effectively.

Earplugs that do not serve their purpose are as good as unavailable. Ensure that employees use them and store them correctly so they last longer and save the company a lot of money in constant replacement.

Posted date: 15th Oct 2014
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