We're introducing a new feature to our website, open to anyone who has a questions related to virtually anything related to safety whether that involves training, regulations, equipment, procedures, the OHSA.... Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and our resident expert Amanda from All Safety Consulting will provide you with the answers you need.
Hi Amanda - I own a landscaping company, and some of the equipment we use, like backpack blowers can get pretty loud. I want to make sure we protect the hearing of our employees, what steps could you recommend to make sure we doing everything right. ~ Ted W.
Hi Ted ~ I'm glad you asked that question! First you need to determine the db levels of the equipment. There is an app available from iTunes that you can download, Decibel X: dB, dBA Noise Meter. You can also rent or buy a dB meters or have a professional come out and perform the testing for you. Either way it is crucial to measure the dB for each piece of equipment. Backpack blowers are especially harmful and require two sets of protection.
If you ever unsure, for example after renting or buying a new piece of equipment, and cannot find information from the manufacturer then the best course of action is the make sure the workers hearing is protected to the highest level. The could require double hearing protect (plugs and muffs). There is also ear-fit (hearing protection) testing. This is a device that tests the effectiveness of hearing protection base on db exposure.
The WSIB claims for noise induced hearing loss is at its highest ever. When hiring new workers it is in the best interest of the employer to request a hearing test, then the employer has a bench mark. Have the employee go through ear-fit hearing protection testing to ensure they are fully protected and document the results. If in the future that employee has a noise induced hearing loss claim your company would be protected from any responsibility. Usually this type of claim goes to the workers last employer. If the last employer shows proof that it didn’t happen while the employee worked for them then WSIB goes to the next employer and so on.