Critical Evaluation of Individual Hearing Protectors of Workers in Civil Construction

Fernando B. Mainier • Larissa F. Dantas • Daniel O. G. De Souza

Abstract

The hearing protection of workers is of great concern to occupational health and safety professionals because of the irreversible damage caused by prolonged exposure to noise. This work seeks to determine whether the hearing protection equipment used in the construction industry today is adequate, considering that, in addition to the intense noise, other risk factors are present in the typical environment of a construction site. For this, a survey was conducted on how workers in the industry recognise and prevent exposure to noise and how they use hearing protection. Subsequently, laboratory experiments were used to study, how the main contaminants interact with the material of which this equipment is composed. In laboratory tests, both foam and silicone plugs gained weight when exposed to contaminants typically found in construction. This fact evidenced the need for training regarding the hygiene of hearing protectors. Regarding the performance of the foam earplugs in the tests, it was verified that, even though they went through the cleaning process, the equipment also increased in mass. This fact demonstrates that cleaning helps but does not eliminate the contamination of the hearing protection devices (HPD). Finally, it was concluded that the both types of earplugs are efficient in relation to noise attenuation and protection of the hearing of the workers. However, the way they are used and cleaned can influence the contamination of these protectors and the research detected both a lack of information from the manufacturers and little or no training of the workers.

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Journal

International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Science

The International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Science (IJAERS) is an engineering... see more