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  • Hearing Protection

    Tried a search for this but didn't really find anything.
    I was curious how many of you have hearing protection in the breweries. If so, what types do you use? Ear plugs, earmuffs, etc.
    Br. Francis
    Birra Nursia
    Norcia, Italy

  • #2
    Ear protection is required by OSHA under certain circumstances where loud noises are present. The rules are rather complex, so it's much easier to be sure you're in compliance by issuing ear protection and being sure everyone uses it when noise is a concern (bottling line, keg washing, etc, and especially when blowing down a tank). Besides the legal concerns, employees with good hearing are much easier to communicate with.

    We keep a large box of foam earplugs handy and encourage (rather strongly) their use. Ours have the little strings attaching the two plugs, which makes them more convenient.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

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    • #3
      It's nice to have the foam earplugs for wearing for longer times (bottling line, keg washing, noisy brewdeck, etc.) and some good clamshell-type on hand for quicker tasks like air compressor maintenance, tank blowdown, or even milling in.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        Our OSHA inspector pointed us to several smartphone apps for measuring noise/sound levels. I think they were free. These are very handy for evaluating noise/sound levels.

        There are times at the pub when we probably should issue earplugs....
        Timm Turrentine

        Brewerywright,
        Terminal Gravity Brewing,
        Enterprise. Oregon.

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        • #5
          Out of curiosity, a day or two ago I measured next to our HLT pump and our aircompressor. 75 and 85 decibels, respectively. So I guess no ear protection required. But I also talked to some high end audio neighbors of ours. They brought up the point that it's not just decibel level, but frequency. Makes sense. I'd stand next to the air compressor much longer than the HLT pump, even though it's quieter. But it's SHRILL...
          Russell Everett
          Co-Founder / Head Brewer
          Bainbridge Island Brewing
          Bainbridge Island, WA

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          • #6
            A bit on noise...

            Originally posted by Bainbridge View Post
            Out of curiosity, a day or two ago I measured next to our HLT pump and our aircompressor. 75 and 85 decibels, respectively. So I guess no ear protection required. But I also talked to some high end audio neighbors of ours. They brought up the point that it's not just decibel level, but frequency. Makes sense. I'd stand next to the air compressor much longer than the HLT pump, even though it's quieter. But it's SHRILL...
            It is all about frequency and decibels. Some frequencies are really annoying, but don't really damage hearing. In general, in ear plugs are better for constant noise (pump/compressor), earmuffs are better for banging (metal on metal, etc.)

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            • #7
              Guys--it may be about frequency and levels, but, for all intents and purposes, it's about OSHA compliance--see the link TTBhelper posted above.

              If you've never had a visit from your friendly local OSHA inspector, you've really missed something, and probably will get to meet them sometime in the future. Being sure you're in compliance can save you thousands of dollars in fines.
              Timm Turrentine

              Brewerywright,
              Terminal Gravity Brewing,
              Enterprise. Oregon.

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              • #8
                Wanted to add some info

                Currently dealing with this for OSHA compliance. Here is the OSHA site:

                https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/

                There are 2 paths with respect to hearing protection: Optional vs Required

                Your exposure levels dictate whether the PPE is optional or a requirement for employees. When information indicates that any employee's exposure may equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels, the employer shall develop and implement a monitoring program (REQUIRED). If exposure levels are less, PPE is now optional.

                Optional is easy: Here it is, use it if you want to.

                Required is hard: PPE issued, employees trained. Annual hearing testing to track hearing loss, etc in the "monitoring program"...

                All depends on how loud your work areas are. As stated, download a dB meter on your smart phone and walk around. If you're no-crap above the limit, you need a program. If you are well below (while still standing next to that loud pump, or noise keg washer) its optional.

                Also, your company's workers compensation insurance carrier should also be able to provide "environmental monitoring" which includes noise, dust, and CO2 measuring. All of these dictate if and when PPE is necessary, and OSHA standards apply.

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