Printech Archives, December 1997: Re: Hearing protection, binderies & music.

Re: Hearing protection, binderies & music.

Debra Kramer (
Thu, 18 Dec 1997 09:41:23 -0600

The following is comments from one of the other folks here at WMRC who has over 25 years experience with industrial safety management.

Deb Kramer

From: Cliff Jahp.

Most companies have gotten away from letting employees use portable radios with head phones because the employees may not be able to hear emergency
alarms, other employee's cries for help, the distraction, etc. You may also open up a can of worms if there is only one station, and some employees don't like this selected station. Radio head phones can not be used in place of hearing protection, it does not provide the decibel protection. In addition the company is only responsible for providing hearing protection. I feel that this is a bad idea.


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



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