10. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT 42 Hearing protection The employer must make hearing protection accessible to the employee, if he / she wishes, when the noise level is over 80 dB (for eight-hour per working day). Hearing protection must be used when the noise level exceeds 85 dB. Earplugs are small and light so it is easy and useful to carry them in your pocket so that you can use them whenever needed. They don’t keep you from using other ear protective devices either. When putting the earplugs in your ear, remember to have clean hands and to put the plug deep enough into the ear canal and make sure that it expands there. There are many types and sizes of ear plugs, choose a type of ear plug that is suitable for you. Earmuffs protect you from noise as well as from welding sparks getting into the ear canal. If you are using also safety goggles and hoods, make sure the earmuffs sit tightly in order for them to provide full protection. Earmuffs pads should be replaced periodically with new ones – e.g. sweat and dirt hardens them. Use double hearing protection when the noise level is very high (use both ear plugs and muffs). If you are exposed to noise for a long time, even using double ear protection won’t be enough (e.g. arc gouging in a foxhole). You should also take breaks to shorten the length of time you are exposed to the noise. DID YOU KNOW? In Finland, approximately 300000 employees are estimated to be exposed to noise. Each year over 1000 cases of noise induced hearing loss is classified as an occupational disease. Noise can adversely affect the central nervous system and therefore also e.g. heart and blood vessels. Noise may lead to mental disorders. Noice can cause stress and make it harder to focus. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common auditory complaint among individuals exposed to noise. IMPORTANT! WEAR HEARING PROTECTION THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE NOISE EXPOSURE TIME.
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