Archive for Hearing Protection

Introduction to Hearing Protection

The landscape of the safety industry is complex, with an abundance of variations on a core group of products and concepts that can be paralyzingly overwhelming to even look at, let alone navigate. How is the average everyman supposed to know what he needs when the market is glutted with options that all seem the same? There are dozens if not hundreds of blogs out there to help guide the consumer towards the purchasing choice that’s best for them, and it’s anyone’s guess if reviving this blog will contribute meaningfully to that conversation. But here at Enviro we try to make it a point to reach out to the consumer base and help them determine what they need. We’ve organized our site to sort products into the most prominent categories that the industry recognizes, and we partner with the finest brands in the industry so that you get only the best. One of our most popular categories is hearing protection, which has been receiving a lot more attention lately.

Hearing protection has gone underrecognized and underregulated for decades, and labor environments have only been getting louder. Multiple generations of workers have suffered permanent damage to their hearing systems that could have been avoided if protection were emphasized in their workplace. OSHA’s estimate is that 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise annually, and that $242 million goes toward hearing disability comp. That’s money down the drain! Thankfully, interest in the hazards of occupational noise exposure is increasing, and we’re seeing more proactivity towards conserving the hearing of the working class.

So at what point is noise dangerous? The medium that carries sound from its source to your ear is air (that’s why you can’t hear anything in outer space), and the volume of sound is measured in decibels, the difference in air pressure that is created when a sound wave is present. Every hearing protection product has a noise reduction rating (NRR) that approximates how many decibels are subtracted from the sound entering the ear when the product is being used correctly.

There are many brands out there that offer hearing protection, but 3M is the one that we carry that has the largest presence on the site and draws the most enthusiastic response. 3M is one of the titans of the research/development world, and the innovations that come out of their labs are second to none. A few months ago their E-A-R EasyTouch earplugs hit the market, which feature a winning combination of comfortable thermoplastic resin coating and polypropylene stem that allows the worker to push it into the ear and find the perfect fit, without worrying about contamination. If you prefer the classic model, we also carry standard roll-down earplugs in a wide array of styles and functionalities.

Where our inventory really shines, in my opinion, is in earmuffs and headsets. This is where you can see some of that overwhelming variety I mentioned before. The most important distinction to know, however, is that between active and passive hearing protection. Earplugs and most earmuffs are passive: they block out all sounds, including those you might want to hear, such as conversation. Active hearing protection has a sophisticated, hypersensitive inner system that measures how loud sounds in the area are and selectively mutes those that are above a certain decibel threshold. I’ll get more into the exciting particulars of these products in future posts.

First Aid Basics

Some of those reading this have probably heard horror stories about injuries occurring on the job, and of another worker running to the first aid kit to find it missing antiseptic, or bandages, or something else basic and necessary. It happens, and a blunder like that can cost someone a limb or even their life. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a set of rules for what a first aid kit must contain, and since they updated those rules in 2015 there’s no time like the present to familiarize yourself with them.

 

To have a fully compliant first aid kit on site in accordance with the 2015 rules, you will need at least:

Class A: 16 adhesive bandages (1×3”), 1 adhesive tape (2.5 yd), 10 antibiotic treatment applications (1/57 oz), 10 antiseptic applications (1/57 oz), 1 breathing barrier, 1 gel-soaked burn dressing (4×4”), 10 burn treatments (1/32 oz), 1 cold pack, 2 eye coverings, 1 eyewash (1 fl.oz), 1 first aid guide, 6 hand sanitizers (0.9 g), 2 pairs of medical exam gloves, 1 roller bandage (2” x 4 yd), 1 scissors, 2 sterile pads (3×3”), 2 trauma pads (5×9”), and 1 triangular bandage (40x40x56”).

Class B: 50 adhesive bandages (1×3”), 2 adhesive tapes (2.5 yd), 25 antibiotic treatment applications (1/57 oz), 50 antiseptic applications (1/57 oz), 1 breathing barrier, 2 gel-soaked burn dressings (4×4”), 25 burn treatments (1/32 oz), 2 cold packs, 2 eye coverings, 1 eyewash (4 fl.oz), 1 first aid guide, 10 hand sanitizers (0.9 g), 4 pairs of exam gloves, 2 roller bandages (2” x 4 yd), 1 roller bandage (4” x 4 yd), 1 scissors, 1 splint (4×24” minimum), 4 sterile pads (3×3”), 1 tourniquet, 4 trauma pads (5×9”), and 2 triangular bandages (40x40x56”).

OSHA also recommends having an automated external defibrillator (AED), but it’s not mandatory.

 

Even considering that many of those products come in small containers that are easy to store, that’s a lot of stuff, and anything with an expiration date will eventually have to be replaced. OSHA has particular standards for logging operations, which obviously involve massive amounts of splintery wood and heavy equipment that can lead to grisly accidents. Gauze pads, tweezers, a blanket, resuscitation equipment, and detailed instructions for summoning emergency help are all needed for such situations. It’s up to the employer or manager to assess the dangers present in the workplace and keep the kit stocked with these minimum needs and whatever else they think necessary. There’s also a color-coding system recommended to make supplies identifiable at a glance. Antiseptics are marked blue, bandages are yellow, burn treatments are red, personal protective equipment (PPE) is orange, and other miscellaneous items are green. Knowing exactly what you’re grabbing will save precious seconds in an emergency.

 

As for kit containers, four main types are available for different situations.

Type 1: These containers are basically cabinets, and are supposed to be mounted indoors where there is minimal risk of it being damaged by equipment or handling, such as an office, manufacturing facility, or similar environment. This type is for spaces where, when injuries do happen, it’s easy to discern exactly what to retrieve from the kit and multiple trips are unnecessary.

Type 2: Portable Type 1s, for indoor environments with similarly low potential of damage. These containers typically feature carrying handles for convenience and efficiency. This type is recommended for situations where the results of accidents can be unpredictable; you don’t want to lose time running back and forth to a wall-mounted kit.

Type 3: A combination of the first two with some extra features, Type 3s can be removed from their mounting and taken to the accident site, and also feature water-resistant seals that make them perfect for sheltered outdoor use. Ideal for general outdoor labor environments as well as music festivals, amusement parks, and similar environments.

Type 4: Heavy-duty containers built to withstand rough environments from construction to combat, where significant risk of damage is present. This is a kit for the most rugged and brutal applications possible, and they have to meet resistance standards for corrosion, moisture, and impact resistance.

 

“Safety first” has been a mantra of modern society for many, many years. In the real world, however, it’s become fashionable to take reckless risks and go against received wisdom. The labor community must be above such childish habits, and building and maintaining a compliant first aid kit is a vital part of maintaining the balance.

How the Right Type of Ear Plug Can Save Your Hearing

Annually, about 30 million individuals in America are exposed to hazardous noise at their place of work. Without the presence of ear plugs, such exposure can wreak serious damage on workers’ hearing. For more than a quarter of a decade, occupational hearing loss has been listed as one of the nation’s most prevalent occupational health concerns. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that since 2004, approximately 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss as a result of occupational exposure to high noise levels. Short-term exposure to loud noise can produce temporary loss or disabling of hearing, or it may produce tinnitus (a ringing in the ears). Exposure to high levels of noise can also cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss, remediable by neither hearing aids nor surgery. The risk of permanent damage is greater with repeated or regular exposure, as at a noisy workplace.

Wearing the right type of ear plugs can help to preserve your hearing ability in both the short and the long term. If the noise or sound level at your workplace exceeds 85 decibels (A-weighted), you are at risk of hearing damage without earplugs. If you have to shout to be heard by a coworker standing at arm’s length, or if you experience a ringing or humming in your ears after leaving work, it is a sure sign that the noise level is high enough at your place of work to make ear plugs a wise choice.

To ensure comfort and hearing protection, select the right type of ear plug for you and your particular working environment. Ear plugs — as distinguished from other hearing protection devices (HPDs), such as industrial protective ear muffs — are inserted directly into the ear canal. Plugs are generally inexpensive and simple to use. Also, ear plugs are often more comfortable to wear than muffs or noise canceling electronic headsets, particularly in hot or damp work areas.

Pre molded ear plugs are preformed and rigid, typically made from plastic. This type is often mass-produced to fit any ear, though such plugs will generally fit some ears more effectively than others. Customized plugs molded from plastic to form your own ear canal can provide improved comfort and hearing protection. Premolded ear plugs are often reusable.

Moldable ear plugs, typically made of foam, adjust their shape to cleave to the walls of the ear canal of whoever is wearing them. They are also softer than pre-molded ear plugs, and so may be more comfortable to wear. Moldable ear plugs are available in multiple sizes to fit different ear canals, and they can provide the highest level of hearing protection. This particular type is disposable.

Hearing bands feature ear plugs are held over the ends of the canal by a rigid headband. They do not penetrate as deeply, and so do not provide the same level of protection as other kinds of ear plugs. They are similar to other types of protection, like corded ear plugs, in that they keep both ends of the device together at all times, lowering the potential for loss. This type of ear plug is easier to remove, and so it may be a preferable choice where noise will be only intermittent.

Earplugs and other HPDs can be a crucial part of a workplace’s effective hearing conservation program, but they should not constitute the worker’s only defense against noise. Several engineering and administrative controls can and should be put into place to reduce the amount of hazardous noise at the workplace. It is the employer’s duty to ensure that the workplace noise level does not exceed the legal limit, determined by OSHA, of 90 dBA over an 8-hour day. Where noise levels approach the limit, employers should take measures to minimize the hearing loss risks faced by workers. For instance, where applicable, employers can reduce sound by maintaining and lubricating noisy equipment, enclosing or isolating the source, and limiting the amount of time workers spend near the originator.

Where ear plugs are called for, the best type for you may vary depending on the individual. OSHA requires employers to offer a “variety of suitable hearing protectors” to noise-exposed workers. Studies have shown that workers who choose their own versions often have improved hearing protection. If one type of plug doesn’t work for you, try another — it could save your hearing!

New to Enviro: 3M Peltor H9A-02 Earmuffs

3M Peltor H9A-02Enviro now carries the all-new 3M Peltor H9A-02 Food Industry Earmuffs. They are specially designed to meet the personal protection needs of food manufacturing workers when standard earplugs won’t cut it, all while adhering to industry regulations for hygiene. With a newly constructed headband and ear cushions, these 3M ear muffs are comfortable for all day use.

The food processing industry requires special protection for workers and these protective earmuffs deliver.

Headband – constructed with virtually zero creases that help reduce the risk of particle accumulations, which leads to bacteria growth. The headband rests comfortably on top of your head.

Two-Point Suspension – made from lightweight aluminum, the headband wire connects at two points on each ear cup that helps evenly dispense the pressure around your ears.

Low-Profile Earcups – smaller and lighter than traditional Peltor earmuffs, these ear cups have a low-profile design that increases comfort during long periods of use. The ear cushions and inserts are made from a polymer that helps reduce condensation and keeps you cool.

Foam Ear Cushions – two soft, foam ear cushions seal around your ears and provide the same high-level of hearing protection that Peltor is known for.
NRR 26 dB.

Washable Parts – the headband, ear cups and ear cushions are all washable and help promote good hygiene while extending the life of your earmuffs.

No other ear muff offers the unique features than the 3M Peltor Food Industry Earmuffs (H9A-02). They will meet the demands of food processing workers and hygienic regulations of the food industry.

Peltor Communication Headsets for Aviators

Aviation HeadsetWhether you fly twin-engine prop planes or helicopters, Aviation Headsets are designed to drown out loud propeller noise, while delivering clear, unmuffled 2-way communications to your co-pilot, passengers, ground crews and airport tower personnel.

Peltor Aviation Headsets are designed with the consumer in mind. They are easy-to-use and plug directly into your plane or helicopter’s communication system. Airplane headsets don’t have any protruding features that reduce the risk of bumping against obstacles during flight and the soft, padded foam allows the headsets to sit comfortably on your head, even by the end of a long flight.

The benefits to Peltor Aviation Headsets:

  • Parallel connector – the speakers in each earcup work separately, so if one fails the other will operate as usual.
  • Noise-cancelling boom mic – drowns out unwanted ambient noises. The mic has a sturdy design with four positions for flexible communications.
  • Soft, foam-filled ear cushions seal around your ear for the best hearing protection Peltor has to offer. NRR ranges from 23-28 dB
  • Adjustable, padded headband that dispenses the weight of the headset evenly around your head, giving you long-lasting comfort.
  • Reliable Peltor electronics

Peltor Aviation Headsets are the #1 choice communication head set  by aviators all over the world.

Check out Enviro’s new selection of Aviation Headsets for fixed wing airplane pilots, twin-engine airplanes, helicopters with low-impedance intercom systems and airport ground crews.

The OSHA/NIOSH Guide to Nail Gun Safety

A Nail Gun is a common tool used by contractors and carpenters everyday at construction sites, especially in residential construction and every year, tens of thousands of painful injuries occur related to nail guns. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels said that nail gun injuries are responsible for approximately 37,000 emergency room visits annually.

In an effort to prevent nail gun injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a handbook for employers and self-employed contractors titled, “Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors”.

Improving Nail Gun Safety in the Workplace
OSHA and NIOSH have developed six steps that employers can take to improve nail gun safety and prevent workers from injury or death.

  1. Use nail guns with a full sequential trigger – this type of trigger will reduce the risk of unintentional nail discharge and double fire, which includes bumping into co-workers.
  2. Provide adequate training – everyone benefits from training. Employers should provide hands on training, including operation, loading the nail gun, air compressor operation, awkward positions and what-to-do when the nail gun malfunctions.
  3. Establish work procedures – creating a step-by-step procedure for handling, operating and storing of nail guns will make the workplace safe and reduce employee injuries.
  4. Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – workers should be provided and required to wear steel toe boots, a hard hat, high impact safety glasses with ANSI Z87.1 protection, and earplugs or earmuffs while operating a nail gun.
  5. Encourage employees to discuss the importance of nail gun safety – employees should be active in making sure fellow employees are following proper nail gun operating procedures.
  6. Provide adequate first aid supplies and immediate medical treatment immediately following nail gun injuries.

Nail Gun Don’ts

  • Never bypass or disable nail gun safety features, including removing the spring from the safety-contact tip, or securing the trigger so it does not need to be pressed.
  • Never keep your finger on the trigger when holding or carrying a nail gun that is not in use.
  • Never lower the nail gun from above or drag it by the air hose.
  • Never operate a nail gun with your non-dominate hand.

Click Here to download OSHA’s “Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors” handbook.

Can You Hear Me Now?

A recent article in the Idaho Statesmen, relates the hearing loss of a long-time hunter.  The common misconception is that you wear hearing protection while you are on the range or trap shooting where the frequency and proximity to gun fire is the greatest.

“But, we don’t normally think about wearing it while hunting. You figure you’re not shooting that much, so why bother?”

The blast from your rifle or gun can be just as loud and just as damaging as those from the range.  This is even more problematic if your game is active (lots of duck flying in) and you are in the rapid fire mode.  This hunter in question was diagnosed with mild, high-frequency hearing impairment, partly due to normal aging, but also due to the noise of gunfire after 50 years of hunting.

When earplugs aren’t enough, we recommend the use of Peltor Hunting and Shooting Range Electronic Headsets to protect from the harmful noise of shooting while on the range or in the field.  The devices will allow the user to hear low level sounds while still protecting from dangerous noise levels.

Peltor – More Than Hearing Protection

Most environments have noise levels so high that they can cause immediate and permanent damage to hearing if protection is not worn.  At the same time, communication is of prime and vital importance. Before Peltor, workers were often faced with a decision, protect their hearing, with products like ear plugs, or communicate. That’s why Peltor headsets were developed.

Peltor Hearing protection offers a full line of earmuffs and electronic headsets for several applications that do more than protect your hearing. Not only do these headsets make your workday safer and more efficient, but also more enjoyable. You will be surprised what Peltor Headsets are capable of!

Peltor Electornic Headsets Peltor Industrial Headsets – Construction, agriculture, forestry; you name it, Peltor electronic headsets will serve a purpose. Most models are even available to attach to hard hats. Peltor AM/FM Radio Headsets, and Peltor Bluetooth Headsets are common choices for these types of industries.

Peltor Shooting Headsets

Peltor Hunting and Shooting Headsets – Hearing protection plays a vital role when shooting. The right equipment can help focus and hit your target at critical moments. Peltor shooting headsets help you do just that. These headsets combine excellent hearing protection with distortion free amplification of low level sounds.

peltor motorsports headsetsPeltor Motorsports Headsets – 2 way radio headsets are a champions choice for communication. Peltor headsets for 2 way communication offer crisp, communication in extreme noise environments. No wonder why they are worn by top teams of motorsport around the world.

Peltor Military and Tactical Headsets Peltor Military and Tactical Headsets – Clear and reliable communications are critical to success in most military and police operations. To be able to communicate while at the same time being protected from harmful noise levels is a vital necessity, both for exercises and actual combat situations.

A New Look For Our Website

We put a new face on our website! What do you think? Feel free to provide feedback and let us know what features or focus would better serve you as our valued customers. Is our navigation easy to use? Can you find the product you are looking for easily? Do we carry the product you are looking for? Email us at news@envirosafetyproducts.com with your comments.

We are striving to make our website more current and will be offering specials and resources in the coming months that we hope you find valuable. Currently, we are offering the Peltor Workstyle FM Only Radio Earmuff at a 20% for only $63.70 each.

Please take the time to sign up for our newsletter to receive future special pricing offers or information important to our safety customers. New subscriptions will receive $10 off on your next order of $75 or more! You will find the sign up prominently displayed on our home page.

Made with Pride in the USA!

It is not a secret to anyone who lives in this great country of ours we call The United States of America, that our economy is in trouble. Big trouble. In the past, the USA was responsible for a large portion of the exporting, however, in recent years things have changed. Other countries are exporting their goods to the USA in large quantities that are produced at cheaper costs, which usually makes it less expensive for the end user. Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it? Spending less money. Cutting costs. Everyone wants to save a dollar, right? Well, as many of us Americans are purchasing products made in other countries, businesses are closing and jobs are being lost here at home.

So, why not buy American and keep our country going strong? Purchasing products from manufacturers located in the USA will boost the morale of the nation, which will in turn keep the American economy going. Typically, products that are made in the USA are of better quality because of the strict regulations, which produces a better quality products in the end. Buy American and save the American economy.

There are American citizens who only purchase American made products and take the time to do research to find out what products fit their standards. For some, cheaper price wins, no matter where the product came from. There are many safety products that are Made in the USA. Here are just a few of the most popular safety products that are American made:

Uvex and AO Safety make safety glasses for those seeking American made products. All meet ANSI Z87.1 standards. With a variety of shapes, lenses, colors, and styles available you will be sure to find what you are looking for.

If you have been looking for Uvex Protege safety glasses but have stopped short of purchasing because they aren’t made in the USA, well now you have no reason not to buy! As of July 2009, Uvex Protege are proudly made in the USA. Featuring a unique design, lightweight comfort, and exceptional performance.

The ever-so-popular Peltor Kids Earmuffs are also Made in the USA. These earmuffs provide excellent hearing protection for children with sensitive hearing and kids that need hearing protection. Perfect for kids up to age 7, these low profile earmuffs are lightweight and easy to wear. Most children aren’t bothered by the earmuffs and don’t fuss or take them off.

With the Swine Flu Pandemic all around us, you need to be protected. 3M Particulate Respirators are some of the most popular Swine Flu protection products in the market and they’re Made in the USA! You can’t go wrong with 3M respirators. 3M respirators are not only for protection against the Swine Flu, but their selection helps match the respirator to the work environment.

Every American has the ability to help prevent businesses downsizing or closing. When you buy American made products it helps keep our country working, and helps keep the companies that you work for in business, and it helps our country. So, don’t just be American, Buy American!