Shop Environments are laced with obstructions and areas that can cause injury. First and foremost, common sense is needed here, as there is no training that can prevent the plectra of possible hazards one can become prepared for. So, it is easier to invoke the standard awareness to the more hazardous possibilities then to explore all the different possibilities that can manifest leading to injury to self or others.
By looking at the human senses as a means to alert and educate the common sense in men and women, being, Sight, Sound, this safety brief is intended to stimulate common sense applications rather than define individual possibilities one can encounter within a shop environment.
Shop Senses are the human senses we must heighten when entering a shop.
Any type of ear protection is designed to reduce the sound pressure level (spl) that enters the wearer’s ear canal. Sound pressure level is measured in decibels (dB). According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of decibel is as follows: A unit used to express relative difference in power or intensity, usually between two acoustic or electric signals, equal to ten times the common logarithm of the ratio of the two levels.
The bottom line is that the decibel scale is not linear. The amplitude of the sound pressure wave actually doubles with every 3 dB increase. For example, a 93 dB spl is twice as loud as a 90 dB spl.
Or an ear protector that reduces the spl by 27 dB is actually twice as effective as one that reduces the spl by 24 dB. So what sounds like a relatively small numerical change actually represents a substantial change in spl. Keep this in mind when comparing the advertised noise reduction rating (NRR) of various ear protectors.
Hearing: When entering a shop environment, listen to the sounds and activities. Plan to become familiar with them (the sooner the better). Your mind will become use to these sounds as time passes. Don’t become complacent. When one takes for granted or becomes custom to the sounds, thereby, ignores possible changes to the sounds characteristics.
For example, motorcycles running, all are never the same or alike. Different exhausts, muffler combinations, engine performances all change the sound a motorcycle can produce. Hearing must be protected. Wearing the approved hearing protection when motorcycles are running especially in closed environments is a requirement by most local laws. The DB level of the sound can harm your hearing over a period of time and in some cases immediately.
Be sure to note hearing protection placards and warning signs. And if none are present suggest to your employer to have them posted for the safety and well being of others.
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