The 5 Best Ear Plugs and Ear Defenders for the Spray Shop. Author - Andy Potts September 16th 2020 (reading time 3 mins)
Noise from paint shop plant and working practices can cause hearing problems and contribute to accidents in the workplace. For this reason, employers are required by law to comply with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and put measures in place to protect their workforce from harmful noise pollution. One of those measures is issuing spray technicians with suitable hearing protection, such as ear plugs or ear defenders. Here are our top 5 hearing PPE devices and how to choose the right type for your workers' needs.
This article covers:
Long-term exposure to loud noise at work and sudden exposure to extremely loud noises can cause:
A noisy work environment can interfere with communications, making warnings hard to hear and reduce workers' awareness of their surroundings. These issues increase the risk of accidents, injury and even death in the workplace.
Employers must measure the noise levels of their workplace plant and activities, but on average, levels in spray painting range from 82 and 110dB(A).
Typical noise sources at the operator ear level include:
All businesses are required to eliminate or reduce risks to health and safety from noise at work under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. The Regulation states that employees should be issued with hearing protection equipment under the following circumstances:
If your risk assessment identifies that your employees should be issued with hearing protection, you are required to:
Visit the HSE websitefor more information about the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and employers' legal obligations.
All hearing PPE has a Single Number Rating (SNR) which determines the level of protection it provides. The higher the SNR level, the higher the level of hearing protection.
Average noise level = F90dB
SNR of selected hearing protection = 20dB
F90dB - 20dB = 70dB at the ear
The HSE recommends allowing 4dB for 'real-world' factors, such as imperfect fit and the directional nature of noise. So, at 4dB onto your "at the ear" figure to arrive at your final
70dB + 4dB = 74dB at the ear
In the above example, the selected hearing protection is suitable for the work environment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If the noise you intend to protect against is tonal or dominated by low frequencies then HSE recommends using the octave band analysis method rather than the SNR method to calculate the required level of hearing protection.
The HSE website has a handy tool that makes easy work of noise protection calculations and tells you if your selected hearing PPE is suitable for your requirements. It's particularly useful for calculating using octave band analysis, which uses a complex formula.
Price: £39.99 (ex. VAT) £47.99 (inc. VAT)
These lightweight ear plugs provide semi-aural protection and feature a connected band that allows easy fit and removal. They are designed to be worn under the chin or behind the neck, making them ideal for intermittent usage and a sensible choice if you're prone to losing single foam plugs. The price tag is higher than single plugs, but the cost balances out as they come with a pair of replacement earpods, and you're unlikely to lose them!
Price: £59.99 (ex. VAT) £71.99 (inc. VAT)
BetaFit's Noisebeta foam corded earplugs offer similar benefits to the banded earpods but with the addition of a convenient dispenser so that hearing protection is always available when your sprayers need it. If you do take the plugs off and forget where you've put them, their bright yellow colour makes them easy to spot. And with 200 individually wrapped pairs per dispenser, stock control will be easy to manage, and you'll make bulk buy savings too.
Price: £66.75 (ex. VAT) £80.10 (inc. VAT)
If your sprayers aren't prone to losing their ear plugs around the workshop, this wall-mounted dispenser with 500 individual disposable foam plugs offers convenience and great value for money.
Price: £22.99 (ex. VAT) £27.59 (inc. VAT)
Comfortable and with a simple roll-to-fit application, these classic disposable ear plugs are a no-fuss solution for your workforce. Each pair of ear plugs is individually wrapped for hygiene, and the disposable box can be used alone or inserted into the HPHAPD wall dispenser for additional convenience.
Industrial & Lightweight Ear Defenders
Price: £6.99 (ex. VAT) £8.39 (inc. VAT)
On-ear defenders are tough and rugged and will stand up to the working conditions of the spray shop. If you're not a fan of in-ear devices or lose foam plugs by the dozen, these adjustable and padded ear defenders are a comfortable alternative.
Give our friendly Total Paint Shop Support Team a call on 01302 856666 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help you choose the best ear plugs and ear defenders for your paint shop.
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