Hearing Protection: Earplugs
Wearing earplugs is one way to protect your hearing in workplaces with high noise levels. Earplugs are a form of hearing protection that are inserted into the ear canal.
There are several types of earplugs that may work best for you:
Disposable earplugs are usually made of waxed cotton, acoustical fibers or other formable material. They are used once and then thrown away.
Semi-disposable earplugs are made of formable foam material designed to expand and conform to the shape of each person’s ear canal. They can be used for about a week.
Pre-molded reusable earplugs are usually made of silicone, rubber or plastic. They often come in two or more sizes and can be fitted individually to each ear.
Custom-molded reusable earplugs are usually made of silicone rubber or a plastic compound. They are shaped to the exact fit of the ear. Clean and store your earplugs properly to make sure they always provide you with the best hearing protection. Always store earplugs in a clean location, such as the container they came in or a carrying case, when not being used. Replace earplugs if they become misshapen, cracked or are no longer soft and pliable.
If you keep these tips for using and caring for your earplugs in mind, you will make positive steps toward protecting your hearing from occupational noise exposure.
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors or importers to provide safety data sheets (SDS) to communicate the hazards of dangerous chemical products. The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing and transporting the chemical. Employers must ensure that the SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. The SDS is composed of 16 sections, and these sections will always appear in the same order for any product, regardless of who manufactures a particular chemical: Section 1: Chemical identification includes the product identifier; manufacturer name, address, and phone number; an emergency phone number; and recommended use and restrictions on use. Section 2: Hazard(s) identification discusses all the chemical’s hazards and required label elements. Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients lists the chemical’s ingredients. Section 4: First-aid measures tells you what to do if there is an exposure to this chemical in your workplace. Section 5: Firefighting measures discusses the proper fire extinguishers to use. Section 6: Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures, protective equipment, and proper methods of containment and cleanup. Section 7: Handling and storage discusses how to safely handle and store the chemical. Section 8: Exposure control and personal protective equipment (PPE) lists permissible exposure limit (PEL) information, threshold limit value (TLV) information, appropriate engineering controls, and PPE required to handle the chemical. Section 9: Physical and chemical properties tells you the chemical characteristics of the product. Section 10: Stability and reactivity describes the reactivity hazards of the chemical and the chemical stability information. Section 11: Toxicological information discusses exposure routes, symptoms of exposure, acute and chronic effects, and the numerical measures of toxicity. Section 12: Ecological information tells you how the product may harm the environment. Section 13: Disposal consideration discusses how to properly dispose of the product. Section 14: Transport information discusses how to safely transport the product. Section 15: Regulatory information tells you what laws and regulations for use of this chemical may apply. Section 16: Other information includes the date of the product preparation and the last revision date of the SDS or chemical.