Key to the 4Cs: Safety Beyond Compliance

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Key to the 4Cs: Safety Beyond Compliance
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The 4Cs of Hearing Safety: Understanding and applying the 4Cs  - Comfort, Communication, Convenience and Caring – helps you select the right earplugs and earmuffs for your people, and move from compliance to safety.

COMFORT
Ears come in all shapes and sizes. The right hearing protection device (HPD) should feel comfortable in the ear or on the head – that means different products for different workers. When protection feels comfortable and stays in place, people will wear it.
 
EARPLUGS
Are noise exposures constant or intermittent in your workplace?
Howard Leight Single-Use and Multiple-Use earplugs are ideal for long-term wear, while Banded earplugs are good for intermittent use.
 
Does your workforce include women or others with smaller ear canals?
Specially designed earplugs with smaller diameters, such as Max Lite, Laser Lite and Matrix are intended for smaller ear canals.
 
Do your workers complain of “tightness” or “stiffness” in the ear canal?
Lower pressure foam products, such as Howard Leight Laser Lite or Max Lite, or products such as SmartFit with patented Conforming Material Technology™, may provide a more comfortable fit which adapts to the contours of your ear canal.
 
Do earplugs “hang out” of the ear canal opening instead of going in all the way?
Howard Leight’s Matrix no-roll earplugs offer easier insertion, while Max single-use earplugs are designed not to back out of the ear canal.
 
EARMUFFS
Are your workers exposed to humid or extreme cold conditions?
Workers can adhere Cool Pads to ear cushions to absorb perspiration in humid conditions or provide additional warmth in cold climates.
 
Do your workers wear other PPE [Personal Protective Equipment], such as helmets, face shields, welding helmets or respirators?
Cap-mounted, multiple-position or neckband earmuffs can be worn with other PPE without compromising protection from noise.
 
Do your workers complain of uncomfortable headband pressure from their earmuffs?
Headband earmuffs exert enough force without compromising comfort or protection.
 

COMMUNICATION
The right hearing protection device reduces noise to a safe level, but avoids overprotection, or compromising communication and worker safety on the job. Be sure to protect hearing and allow clear communication with co-workers.

Do workers need to communicate with others, hear important signals or warnings on the job?
HPDs with uniform attenuation, such as Clarity earplugs and earmuffs, block hazardous noise while allowing important communication to be heard more naturally, decreasing worker isolation and improving personal safety.
 
Do you have areas of marginal noise where overprotection is a concern?
Most Howard Leight earmuffs and Matrix earplugs offer multiple attenuation levels that can be appropriately matched to your noise levels.
 
In addition to hazardous noise, are your workers exposed to additional safety risks on the job?
Leightning and Thunder Hi-Visibility earmuffs offer total visibility and hearing protection solution with brightly colored earcups and a reflective headband, ideal for construction workers, airport ground crews and transit workers.
 

CONVENIENCE
At work, give employees easy access to hearing protection devices [HPDs] – and make sure that the choices are specifically matched to the work environment.

EARPLUGS
Do you have budget constraints on PPE spending or require a centralized HPD source in workplace?
Earplug Dispensers offer a cost-effective solution to outfitting many workers with hearing protection, saving money while eliminating waste.
 
Do you have operational tolerances for certain packaging?
Paper bags for process industries and hard cases for earplug storage offer alternatives in packaging.
 
Do you have workers who need to remove their earplugs during a workday? 
Corded earplugs can be worn around the neck and inserted when entering areas of noise exposure. Banded Earplugs can also be inserted and removed when moving in and out of noisy areas.
 
Does your process require visual/metal detection?
Detectable earplugs offer both visual and metal detection for process industries, such as food/beverage, pulp and paper, tobacco and other process industries.
 
Do you require bright colors for compliance inspections of earplug usage?
Howard Leight offers earplugs in a wide variety of color options for visibility needs, including coral, blue, green and magenta.
 
Is hygiene a concern in the workplace?
No-roll earplugs, multiple-use earplugs and bands offer an alternative to roll-down foam earplugs, preventing dirt from transferring from users’ fingers to the earplug.
 
EARMUFFS
Do your workers wear other PPE, such as helmets, face shields, welding helmets or respirators? 
Cap-mounted, multiple-position or neckband earmuffs offer alternatives in wear with other PPE without compromising overall protection.
 
Do your workers need to keep earmuffs close by?
Folding earmuffs with a belt case offer a compact and accessible solution.
 
Are your workers exposed to high traffic, low lighting or inclement weather conditions?
High-visibility products, such as Leightning and Thunder Hi-Visibility earmuffs, help mitigate additional hazards on site. Clarity sound management earplugs and earmuffs are also helpful for workers exposed to traffic, enhancing their recognition of approaching vehicles or other signals.
 

CARING
Many people don’t realize that hazardous noise has cumulative effects. Demonstrating the importance of hearing protection is an important step in a successful Hearing Conservation Program, AND an important factor in maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.

Are your workers motivated to wear HPDs on the job?

  • Train your workers on how to properly insert earplugs and wear earmuffs when they start with the company and on an annual basis.
  • Offer a variety of earplugs and earmuffs on the job – not just one type of earplug for the entire team.
  • Allow workers to be part of the selection and education process – worker input and motivation will set an example across your workforce.
  • Hang motivational and informational posters in the lunch room or near your hearing protection source, not just in the safety office.
  • Praise workers who always wear their HPDs. Workers who are publicly recognized on the job are more likely to wear their HPDs all the time.
  • Managers should always wear hearing protection in noisy areas. This sends a clear signal that from the top down, the company cares about everyone’s hearing safety.

Are your workers exposed to noise at home?
Whether your workers mow the lawn, use power tools, attend rock concerts, auto racing events or participate in shooting sports, they are still exposed to hazardous noise. 
Show that you care by encouraging your workers to take earplugs home with them to prevent additional noise exposure.
 

Remember, the best hearing protector is the one that is worn properly – 100% of the time in hazardous noise.