Printech Archive
Re: Hearing protection, binderies & music.

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From: Debra Kramer (
Date: Thu Dec 18 1997 - 08:44:03 CST


Before the company agrees to spending $ on headphones for the employees they should conduct a safety evaluation. Namely, would wearing headphones create an additional safety hazard because the employees are distracted and do not hear a piece of equipment go down or see/hear the cries for help from a co-worker who is in trouble.

As Bill Bilkovich mentioned there are sound interrupt devices available, but are they compatible with the emergency alarm system in the plant? Again, verbal communication has the potential to be undermined.

Deb Kramer

From: Scottray[]
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 1997 5:13 PM
Subject: Hearing protection, binderies & music.

Here's the question:

A printer's bindery department routinely exceeds the OSHA 90db exposure level.
They have implemented a hearing conservation program and require hearing
protection. However, because of the boring, monotonous nature of the work,
the employees are practically demanding that they be allowed to wear music
headphones to make the work bearable. I have identified one brand of ear-muff
style hearing protection/FM radio that limits the headphone volume to 82db.
Is this a viable option to satisfy OSHA and the employees? What have other
companies done to address this issue? All comments would be appreciated. I
am writing an article on hearing protection for an upcoming PIM newsletter and
would like to include information on this common problem. Thanks for your

Scott Schuler
Printing Industry of MN
2829 University Ave. SE, Suite 750
Minneapolis, MN 55414-3222
(612) 379-6006
fax: (612) 379-6030

Debra Kramer
Waste Management & Research Ctr. - IL DNR
3333 W. Arthington
Chicago, IL 60624
773/265-8336 FAX

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