On Disposable Protection Products

A perennial theme in human expression is that we are absolutely obsessed with permanence and terrified of anything that reminds us of our fragility. When we’re making purchasing choices, how long we can expect a given item to last is as important a factor to weigh as the price. We don’t like the idea that something we spend our hard-earned money on will fall apart after x years of use. And yet, there is an entire wing of product manufacturing devoted to products that are used once, then discarded. These are not leisure items, but rather protective products used in operations that involve hazardous materials. They are valuable because, not in spite of, their temporariness.

 

Pretty much any category of safety equipment has disposable options. This includes gloves, eyewear, gowns, and respirators. At Enviro, we carry all of these from a variety of brands and with different features, quantities, and applications.

 

As far as bodywear goes, we offer an array of disposable gowns and smocks that protect from both hazardous (chemicals, fire, fetid water) and nonhazardous (dirt, grime, oil) substances alike. For a first responder going into a post-hurricane zone, for example, it’s vital to protect your feet and legs from whatever nasties are living in the standing water. After a day of service in that kind of situation, no one wants to wash the disgusting protective gear and use it again. Disposability is an asset.

 

We also have disposable gloves, our consistently most popular disposable item. There are many jobs and worksites all across the labor world, in dozens of fields, that require a constant and consistent supply of high-quality disposable gloves. Lab work, manufacturing, food processing and handling, and other such jobs can only be done with hand protection, and disposable gloves provide an easy and convenient means of getting your work done. If you need a new glove they’re right there in a functionally limitless supply (assuming inventory is being kept up) and can be easily discarded when the job is done. No filthy gloves laying around afterward, to be laboriously washed and reused. The cycle simply repeats.

 

Elsewhere, we have our selection of disposable respirators. As we’ve seen in previous posts, respiratory protection is one of the most vital services we provide. The lungs are precious, and should be protected from danger at all costs. If any piece of protective equipment should be permanent, it would seem to be respirators. However, disposable respirators are very much a real thing and are a valid element of certain protective equipment programs. Obviously if airborne contaminants are so pervasive in the air that heavy-duty filtration is required, a disposable respirator isn’t going to cut it. Disposables aren’t necessarily cheap and ineffective, though. Like disposable gloves they may appear flimsy but are still perfectly capable of providing necessary protection. One potential application I’ve seen mentioned a few times is certain surgical processes that involve precision grinding tools. A filter is required because of the clouds of microscopic tissue particles these processes create. Disposable respirators are perfect for applications like that.

 

At the end of the day, just because it’s disposable doesn’t mean it’s dispensable. These products provide immediate convenience and replaceability without compromising the features needed to stay safe on the job. Whether it’s gloves, masks, or whatever else you need, stock up today with Enviro!

Introducing the Versaflo TR-300+

A week ago, I was introduced to the 3M Versaflo TR-800 PAPR, a remarkable piece of engineering that brings high-end respiratory protection into the electrical field. Its intrinsically safe construction of the filter and housing made it possible to use in heated environments without risking combustion. This is a big innovation, and will hopefully make electricians’ lives and jobs easier and safer all over the world. All that is great. There is still a drawback, however: a PAPR’s effectiveness is directly affected by the air density around it, which is determined by elevation and temperature. Denser air has more particulate that can overload the filter, possibly breaking the unit. Certain regulatory measures are built in to keep the airflow at a level tolerable to the machinery, but even these mechanisms aren’t enough to keep the unit in working order at higher elevations. As a result, such products are useless in some of the areas that need them most.

 

Enter the TR-300+ series. Another PAPR, you may ask? What could possibly be different or special about this one? It features what 3M refers to as “upgraded altitude compensation,” allowing the unit to be used at heights of 14,000 feet or less. This is a significant leap forward that will expand the market dramatically, and bring vital respiratory protection to the masses.

 

The information I have access to about the TR-300+ is limited to the sparse promotional literature I’ve been given, as it doesn’t seem to have an online presence quite yet (the plus sign in the product name doesn’t help). It does exist though, and the possibilities it opens up for the workforce are exciting. Workers at extreme elevations will be able to properly protect themselves whenever conditions require. While there’s nothing in the literature that indicates it’s an intrinsically safe product like the 800, its existence is a welcome step towards that kind of comprehensive protection (which may or may not be necessary depending on conditions in the labor world, reliable data on which I don’t know how to find.

 

Like the TR-800, which was engineered to be compatible with TR-600 replacement parts, the TR-300+ is easily serviced by the entire line of TR-300 components (with the notable exception of the TR-371 filter cover). This includes breathing tubes, filters, batteries, belts, face shields, and more. Maintaining the unit is simple and straightforward. Combine that with the user-friendly interface that automatically informs you of the battery, airflow, and filter’s respective operational status, an ease of use is present here that we don’t always associate with products like this.

 

Also in line with other Versaflo products, the TR-300+ comes in three packaged kits tailored to specific applications. As of this writing, we only have the Heavy Industry Kit (linked above) on our website, but the others are sure to be listed upon full rollout. These include the Easy Clean Kit, which emphasizes simplified maintenance, the Heavy Industry Kit for hardcore industrial environments, and the Healthcare Kit (in small and large) for pharmaceutical and medical applications.

 

The TR-300+ is a welcome addition to the Versaflo line and will help a lot of people. Consider it if you’re in the market.

Spotlight on the CH-5 High Attenuation Headset

Today we’re looking at another brand new product from 3M, who remain steadfast in their mission to push innovation forward in the labor world. Today’s product is the PELTOR CH-5 High Attentuation Headset.

 

The immediate question, of course, is “What the heck is attenuation? All these Google results are about yeast.” Well, let’s start with yeast. Within a baking context, “attenuation is the percentage of sugars yeast consume during fermentation.” Something similar is happening here,  in seconds rather than hours. When sound hits the hearing protection, a certain percentage of it goes through while the rest (hopefully) is muffled. The degree to which this happens is also called attenuation, and is expressed with a noise reduction rating (NRR) assigned to each product.

 

A product with an NRR of 20 is lab-rated to absorb 20 decibels of sound. Keep in mind that that’s under absolute optimum conditions in a controlled environment; extenuating factors in the workplace will inevitably make the rating decrease. That being said, it’s still a good metric to use when deciding what protection to buy. I’ve seen a variety of formulas used to determine how much actual protection you’re getting, but they seem too harsh in the calculation, and the fact that there are differences of opinion in the first place makes me take it all with a grain of salt, as should you. Suffice to say that, under ideal real-world conditions, you should be able to get about 70-75% of the attenuation indicated by a product’s NRR.

 

Which brings us to the CH-5. What makes it special? Well, its NRR is 31 which is almost unheard of in this industry. Even in the field with its inevitable lowering effect, that’s an impressive performance. 3M knows this, and has designed this product with the noisiest environments in mind, from airstrips to battlefields. Anywhere with big machinery, heavy-duty processes, and the attendant deafening noise is just the environment where these babies should be deployed. The deep cups leave plenty of room for the ears, while the headband is designed to exert minimal pressure and discomfort, making it easy to wear for hours.

 

And if that wasn’t enough, they also feature a watertight noise-cancelling boom mic. Its presence would seem to imply that this is an active protection product, which I initially assumed. However, I don’t see any language in the promo that describes level-dependent technology like what we’ve discussed before, so it’s not clear what exactly the mic is doing. Is it just for picking up your voice and piping it into a radio, or does it allow human speech through like the level-dependent products we’ve seen before? All 3M’s site says is that it “enables critical communication,” only mentioning “external radio communication sources.” Based on that, I figure it definitely doesn’t have a level-dependent element. Keep that in mind when you shop.

 

The CH-5 promises to be a fantastic addition to the PELTOR family of products, and a simple choice for employers trying to build a comprehensive hearing protection program for noisy environments, without breaking the bank.

Spotlight on the TR-800 PAPR

Once again we’re looking at a special new product from 3M, a further refinement of their flagship respiratory protection technology. The Versaflo TR-800 (available in Painter’s, Easy-Clean, and Heavy Industry kits) is an exciting leap forward for 3M’s PAPR line, featuring a number of features that make it stand out in the marketplace. Let’s take a look.

 

At first glance, the TR-800 may look like any other high-end PAPR. It’s got the compact design that stays close to the body and out of the way, tube connecting to a face shield or hood, etc. What’s the difference between it and the others? The TR-800 is, uniquely, “intrinsically safe.” Intrinsic safety is an engineering technique that designs products and technology to operate with minimal electric activity. This involves simplifying the circuits, setting up the energy flow to minimize heat, and eliminating space where dust can gather. An intrinsically safe device will not explode or ignite, and is therefore clear to use in highly conductive environments.

 

The promo brochure for the TR-800 highlights the “innovative materials” used in its construction, specifically the plastic exterior that houses the filter, battery, and motor. 3M claims this material, whatever exactly it is, can meet a “new material properties requirement” in the UL Standards Catalog while also passing intrinsic safety protocols. This indicates that 3M keeps track of the shifting legal landscape, and their creators are working to make products that perform optimally within it.

 

3M has given the TR-800 yellow highlights around the edges, making it stand out visually as well. This is intended to indicate its uniqueness among their PAPRs as an intrinsically safe product. It’s a brilliant touch, as it prevents the unit from getting mixed up with other more standard units in storage. Also of note is the mechanically secured battery, which is held in place by a pin rather than a programmed lock that may fail. They say they have included this measure as part of the same UL standard mentioned before, so it may be helpful to turn to that text at this point.

 

Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) set many of the industrial world’s early standards for safety, and has continued to fill that role ever since. Section 60079 of their standards catalog is dominated by one phrase: “explosive atmospheres.” These texts serve as guidelines for manufacturers to make sure their products are safe to use in potentially dangerous areas and situations. The content of the standards themselves is highly technical, and I’m obviously not the target audience. 3M, for their part, boasts of the TR-800 being the first to be UL-certified as intrinsically safe, which is quite an impressive endorsement. Intrinsic safety standards are set out in part 25 of standard 60079.

 

As for accessories, the TR-800 is compatible with TR-600 components and replacement parts, so there’s no need to seek out a whole new line of 800 parts, as such a line probably will never exist. Any part that fits the TR-600, from filters to tubes to belts, will also go with the TR-800. We’re proud to welcome this exciting new addition to our inventory, and highly recommend the TR-800 to any worker who requires intrinsically safe technology to do their job.

Spotlight on the PELTOR Wireless Communication Accessory

Today we’re looking at an interesting new accessory as part of our PELTOR spotlight series. 3M has unveiled a wireless earmuff Bluetooth accessory to make your workday that much easier. Compatible with the X Series of PELTOR earmuffs, the cushion accessory is like any other replacement ear cushion. What is has extra, however, is a microphone and speaker that allows you to maintain communication with your team. This is a revolutionary product that can restructure workflow by allowing for easier movement of information.

 

Think of it as a stripped-down version of the elaborate communications sets we’ve shown here before, minus the voice-guided menus, densely structured frequency selection, and all those other bells and whistles. All that’s here is a simple mic and speaker that connects through Bluetooth with your external device, whether it’s a phone or a walkie-talkie or whatever else. This enables full conversations without interfering with your hearing protection. It’s all too common to see a worker in a loud area lift their ear cup to hear what their colleague or supervisor is saying, thereby exposing themselves to potentially dangerous noise. That’s unacceptable, yet many feel like there’s not much to be done about the noise problem, even with the sophisticated products that PELTOR offers.

 

The downside of PELTOR’s tech-heavy communication headsets is obvious: they’re expensive! The average construction manager can’t afford a $200+ headset for every single worker. The cushion accessory provides an imperfect solution to this problem by serving as a means of direct connection between team members that doesn’t have to break the bank. Important updates can be distributed in seconds across the work area, so no one’s out of the loop.

 

The accessory is designed to be easily wearable for hours at a time, integrated as it is into the supportive cushion itself. It’s resistant to harsh conditions in the environment, be they from sweat, rain, or whatever else the day throws at it. As for the noise, whether it’s from a jackhammer, a crane, grinding metal, or a roaring engine, you’ll be safely ensconced in a protective layer of comfort that lets you hear what you want to hear.

 

Workers shouldn’t have to expose their ears to hazardous noise to get the information they need to do their job, and hearing protection shouldn’t also isolate you from your work community. With this wireless accessory, these apparently irreconcilable situations have an elegant and permanent solution.

 

Keep in mind that this product is sold separately from the actual headset itself, and hygiene kits (also sold separately) are available to help keep it in top working condition.

Spotlight on the PELTOR Junior Earmuffs

I hope you all (assuming this blog has anything resembling a consistent readership) are having a great holiday season. The gift-giving may be behind us, but the spirit should live on. As we go back to the daily grind of our lives, we can’t forget those less fortunate than us, no matter how many distractions the world throws at us. The shapers of our society would like nothing more than for us to disregard the existence of the marginalized in our world. Extermination policies did not begin or end with the Third Reich; an undeclared war has been waged against undesirable populations for many centuries, and we see the casualties today in homelessness, economic inequality, racism, political corruption, addiction, and our broken healthcare system. Out of the many marginalized populations that take the brunt of this abuse, the autistic community is one of the less visible. You probably wouldn’t imagine the writer of this blog as autistic, but I am.

 

We’ve all seen the propaganda, mostly courtesy of pressure groups like Autism Speaks, portraying autism as a world-ending plague on mankind. Anyone living with an autistic loved one knows that this isn’t true, and that autism in its many manifestations is simply a difference that society doesn’t like. As autistic people start to speak up and advocate for themselves in the coming years, opposition from these hate groups will intensify.

 

Here at Enviro, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in the reviews for one of our products, which is next in our PELTOR spotlight series. The PELTOR Junior earmuffs are designed for the younger set: children, teens, and infants. They’re a basic passive hearing protection product with an adjustable headband, vibrant colors, and deliberate exclusion of small parts that could pose a choking hazard. 3M doesn’t make clear what exactly the intended application is; kids don’t usually work in high-noise environments, so it would seem they’re intended for children who want to accompany their family to the gun range or out hunting. Which is great! It gives parents or other family members an opportunity to share their hobbies with their kids, maybe introduce them to something they’ll come to love themselves. That’s awesome.

 

In the reviews, however, it looks like our customers have found some more creative uses for them. A recurring theme is that they’re used for kids on the autism spectrum. Autistic kids are often hypersensitive to loud noise, especially when it’s sudden and unexpected. Earmuffs are an excellent solution to that problem, and the PELTOR Juniors are affordable and convenient. I think 3M would do well to refine the product further and market it directly to the special needs community. For example, one reviewer wishes the earmuffs were collapsible and could more easily fit in her purse. That’s an easy fix.

 

Obviously, Christmas is over and the time is past for you to buy a set for an autistic child or teen in your life, but the awareness is what counts here. It’s important, even on a tiny platform like mine, to push back against the mainstream notions of what autism is, how it works, and what should be done about it. I don’t think 3M cares much about us; they’re a massive conglomerate with their own agendas and concerns. But they made a product that serves a very real need, and it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to explore that relationship further. As for you, take the time to hear what autistic people actually have to say about autism, and cherish the autistic people in your life for who they are, while you still can.

Find out more about autistic issues from an autistic perspective at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Spotlight on the WorkTunes Pro

The grand 3M PELTOR parade continues, this time with the WorkTunes Pro. This headset offers an uncanny blend of high-quality hearing protection and built-in AM/FM radio listening capability. If that sounds familiar to the PELTOR Alert from a few months ago, the difference is that this is a passive hearing device without level-dependent noise cancellation technology, and therefore much cheaper.

 

3M’s hook for this product is that listening to music or radio while you work can be a great motivator to get you “ ‘in the flow’ of your workday” (the bizarre quotation mark placement is theirs). And this is definitely an impressive device, with a 26 dB noise reduction rating and inner workings isolated in their own compartment to prevent sweat exposure (something I always assumed was true of these products and seems odd to emphasize here). But my initial concern with the Alert is that having one’s attentions divided between physically demanding work with dangerous equipment and auditory entertainment or news seems like a recipe for disaster, even with the level-dependent technology. So, for that article, I emphasized the Alert’s applicability to leisure or home activities that involve loud noise, such as sport shooting or mowing the lawn.

 

I was a bit confused, then, when I encountered promotional material for the WorkTunes Pro that emphasized its use in the workplace, when it doesn’t have the level-dependent technology that enabled communication with coworkers and awareness of the environment that the Alert does. Wouldn’t it be even more dangerous to use a passive hearing protection device in situations with that kind of noise level? I was assuming that such situations would also involve heavy equipment moving around, be it a forklift or a winch or a saw whatever other object in the space that the wearer should be aware of for their own safety. That’s not always necessarily true, though. There are definitely jobs in controlled, safe environments that have loud occupational noise in the vicinity (a generator, for example) and will still require hearing protection. In that context, it’s up to the manager to decide if personal listening devices will be allowed.

 

The WorkTunes Pro features a voice-guided menu system that eliminates the need for dials and buttons. Simply tell it what station you want, your preferred volume, etc. and it will do the adjusting for you. It also announces when it’s low on battery, and will turn off automatically after 4 hours of non-use to conserve the battery. This won’t affect the hearing protection, just the media player. It’s also available as a hard hat attachment that goes with any 3M hard hat, which would seem to hew closer to my concerns above. 3M’s website mentions manufacturing facilities and industrial sites as being good applications for this device; all I can say is check with your manager or, if you are the manager, give it a good amount of thought before you allow personal listening devices in your workplace. The luxury of listening to music or talk radio just isn’t worth an accident.

Spotlight on the LiteCom BRS

Today we’re continuing our 3M PELTOR spotlight series with a look at the LiteCom BRS two-way radio headset. These high-end headphones offer not only top-notch hearing protection, but also full set-to-set communication on multiple frequencies. 3M goes the extra mile when engineering these products, and here at Enviro we make sure to provide only the best, so you get the best.

 

The LiteCom’s noise reduction rating (NRR) of 25 decibels allows for peace in the storm, or the factory, or the loading deck, wherever you happen to be. The soft padding on the headband and deep earcups allow for an unusual level of comfort, making it easy to wear for prolonged periods. The star of the show here, however, is the two-way radio.

 

The built-in two-way UHF radio is a cable-free communication system that can connect your whole team together to optimize productivity and communication. The microphone is engineered to filter out sounds beside speech, so you don’t get any unwelcome noise in your ears. If you go without talking for more than two hours, the headset switches off automatically to conserve energy. When you start talking again, the channel reopens within milliseconds, so no one should miss any of your words.

 

The headset itself also communicates with you, and may even start to feel like part of the team. When initially turned on, the unit notifies you of its battery status and guides you through a voice-activated menu. The 8 BRS channels and 38 CTCSS subchannels are compliant with the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate. When it switches off after two hours of inactivity as mentioned above, it tells you it’s doing so and you will hear a ten-second sequence of short tones.

 

The microphone sensitivity can be adjusted to your needs, though the manual informs that a lower level makes transmission easier. The only situation that would require a high setting would be in environments so noisy that it could simply drown your voice out. Otherwise, the mic should be fine at the default level. There’s also a feature humorously named “squelch,” which reduces the background hiss common to most communication systems. The squelch level can be adjusted similarly to the sensitivity. Again, this depends on your needs, in this case how far apart the units will be. A lower squelch level can permit transmission across longer distances.

 

The channel system is very sophisticated, with 8 primary channels that can be organized based on your needs; this team doing this job uses channel 1, another team uses 2, and so on. The 38 subchannels are more complicated. CTCSS stands for “continuous tone-coded squelch system,” and these frequencies can detect inaudible tones in human speech that determine whether the channel is open or closed. It’s all arcane and mysterious from where I’m sitting and I’m not going to pretend to know how it works, but it allows multiple conversations to be happening on the same frequency without audibly interfering with each other. Crazy, right?

 

The PELTOR LiteCom BRS headset is a great choice for employers trying to put together a hearing protection program for a high-noise environment.

Spotlight on the TEP-100

We’ve discussed at length 3M’s sophisticated level-dependent hearing protection technology, but this is a good place for a quick recap. Passive hearing protection, like the Optime 105 from our last post, blocks out most to all sound without discerning between one sound and another. Active protection (fancy protection, smart protection, expensive protection, call it what you will) incorporates an ambient microphone and sensory technology into its design that actually measures the noise level coming in, determines if it is dangerous based on a preprogrammed threshold, and either allows the sound to go through or cuts off the mic feed based on the result. All that happens in a fraction of a second. Today’s spotlighted product is also an active protection item, but instead of a headset like you usually see, the TEP-100 takes the form of a pair of removable earplugs.

 

At first glance, outfitting earplugs with this kind of technology seems like a bad idea. Plugs are notoriously prone to falling out, and adding a chunky piece of tech to the end would seem to make the problem worse. Fear not. Each plug is only 0.13 oz (about 3.7 grams), so if they’re being worn properly they should be secure in the ear. They’re also water-resistant, making them ideal for application in challenging environments.

 

The TEP-100 is designed to provide excellent hearing protection when things get loud and equally excellent ability to hear in quiet situations. In promotional materials, 3M particularly focuses on the tactical applications for law enforcement and soldiers. The online brochure has pictures of a line of armed men in silhouette, a man speaking into a walkie-talkie in night-vision green, a helmeted trainee pointing a gun around a corner. Tactical would seem to be the main context they want these to be used in. There’s a wrinkle to this, however. Amazon user E. B.’s review caught my eye while I was researching, and seems to indicate that 3M has somewhat oversold the TEP-100’s capabilities. It doesn’t mean they’re useless, just that you can’t always take a company’s information at face value. E. B. describes the plugs as being highly susceptible to wind noise (which the brochure says the mic port on the side is specifically meant to minimize) and that, because the units are identical, one of the mics is always facing backwards. He describes this creating a phenomenon of muffling in the left ear.

E. B. claims to be an avid shooter (“several hundred to several thousand rounds per month”), hunter, and Iraq veteran who has led dozens of combat patrols. I’m inclined to believe him based on the detail with which he fills his review (and others on his profile). A man with such credentials knows exactly what a tactical earplug needs. The sound quality must be pristine, and the sensors need to be sophisticated enough to indicate which direction the sound is coming from. The left-ear muffling in particular severely curtails perception of depth and direction. These flaws, he points out, make the TEP-100 “unusable for most types of serious hunting,” and would be “downright dangerous” on the battlefield. Personally I’m inclined to trust the vet, and if I were working at 3M I’d offer this guy a consulting job and rebrand the TEP-100 in a way that highlights the situations where it shines most: the shooting range.

 

Most people who work in a field that would require tactical ear protection probably have some degree of enthusiasm for guns and shooting, and may frequent a range for fun. Despite his harsh criticism, E. B. absolutely loves how these earplugs work when he’s at the range with friends. Everyone shoots in one direction (unless there’s an accident, God forbid) and the level of sonic detail that’s required in the woods or at war isn’t necessary there. You only need to protect your ears from shot blasts, but you also need the situational awareness that active protection can provide. The TEP-100 fills that role perfectly.

Spotlight on the Optime 105

Today we’re going to take a look at a hearing protection classic from 3M: the PELTOR Optime 105 earmuffs. These bad boys are time-tested and field-proven, rising in the ranks to become one of 3M’s (and ours) most popular baseline hearing protection products. They’re a great addition to any protection collection, whether you’re an employer looking out for your workers or a layperson looking for cheap and effective noise reduction without all the extra features of the more advanced products. Be it ever so humble, however, the Optime 105 is one of the most powerful protectors on the market.

 

As we’ve said before, harm done to the ears by excessive noise levels is irreversible, and often worsens so gradually that you don’t even notice until it’s too late. 3M’s leading position in the protection industry has been earned as they have consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in noise reduction, doing their part to curtail the rampant hearing loss in the labor industry. The Optime 105 represents a cornerstone of that achievement.

 

The 105’s signature design element is its “double-shell” earcups, featuring two nested cups on each side fused together with an inner layer of foam. This doubling serves to minimize resonance on the inside, providing optimal protection in extremely high-noise situations. This serves to completely muffle dangerous high frequencies while allowing you to still hear speech. Lab tests have given the Optime a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 30 decibels, which is slightly higher than they’re expected to perform in the field but is still the highest possible NRR. You’re highly unlikely to find protection this comprehensive for a competitively low price.

 

Also notable is their ergonomic qualities. The padded headband may not look like anything special, but it’s made of durable stainless steel that will resist warping and is designed to distribute weight across the surface area, which translates to a low-pressure fit on the skull allowing for hours of comfortable use. The sealing rings, likewise, are filled with foam cushioning that conforms to the unique shape of your head, creating a perfect seal with low contact against the skin.

 

The number 105 refers to 3M’s guideline noise level, in decibels, that the Optime works best in. 105 decibels is somewhere between a motorcycle engine and a jackhammer, neither of which are pleasant sounds for the average listener and which will damage the ears after prolonged exposure. If the Optime is worn correctly and cared for to keep it in good condition, it will work perfectly in that ballpark of the noise level spectrum. The sophisticated muffling design I’ve described will still perform at higher levels, however, so don’t be discouraged if it technically falls below the noise level in your workplace.

 

In a formalized working environment, these earmuffs should be used as part of a comprehensive hearing protection program in cooperation with OSHA. This will involve regular assessments of the noise level in the workplace and audiometric tests for the products themselves to ensure they are operating at full capacity. Life can be loud, and 3M is committed to raising awareness and quality of life for workers worldwide with products like the Optime 105.