Advice on issuing hearing protection
When issuing hearing protectors you will need to consider regulations 7 (hearing protection), 8 (Maintenance and use of equipment) and 10 (Information, instruction and training) of the Control of Noise Regulations at Work Regulations 2005 and take account of the points below.
You should provide your employees with information on:
- why you are issuing hearing protectors;
- where they must be used;
- how they can obtain replacements or new protectors; and
- how they should wear them properly and look after them.
You should ensure that employees can readily obtain hearing protectors and replacements when they need them. This might include personal issue to individual employees. Alternatively, you might wish to install dispensers from which employees can take disposable hearing protectors as they need them. Locate the dispensers at or near to the entrances to areas where hearing protectors are required, in a place where your employees can conveniently use them. Make sure you keep the dispensers topped up.
Personal issue and visitors
People should not pass earplugs to one another. Preferably, a set of earmuffs should be used by one individual only. Where earmuffs are kept for the use of visitors, they should be hygienically cleaned for each new wearer. Alternatively, disposable covers may be used.
Training and effective use
Hearing protection will only provide good protection when used properly and fitted correctly. Users must be instructed in its correct fitting and use, including: how to avoid the potential interference of long hair, spectacles and earrings on the effectiveness of their hearing protection; how to wear their hearing protection in combination with other personal protection; the importance of wearing their hearing protection at all times in a noisy environment (removing it for only a few minutes in a shift will lower the protection to the wearer considerably); how to store their hearing protection correctly; how to care for and to check their hearing protection at frequent intervals; where to report damage to their hearing protection.