Ear Buds Where & When

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about protection of hearing:

I know it is against regulations to wear ear buds on MHE equipment. I had a question asked today on where are they OK to wear. I told them not on MHE equipment or in high traffic areas. I told them if they were working where no traffic came then it was OK to wear. Now, I am asked to do a safety meeting at work. Is there any information about the “wheres” ear buds can be worn at work?
Signed, Where & When
Dear Where & When:
We’ve had many questions regarding noise in the workplace. That is a special area of expertise that OSHA consultants provide; it’s not ours, but we try as apparently you will in your upcoming safety meeting. Below several of our Q&As are referenced.

If you search the web, you will find helpful answers—hinging mostly on the decibel level. For example: OSHA Rules on Earphones by Trudy Brunot, studio discusses various aspects of hearing protection.
Sound Advice
OSHA’s 85-decibel noise criteria equates to the sound a lawnmower makes. If you use earphones, keeping the volume below that level and giving your ears a break every couple of hours can reduce the potential for damage to the fine hairs in your inner ear that enable you to hear. Listening to music while sitting in an office cubicle may help some workers concentrate on their tasks, but it also may isolate them from conversation and interaction with colleagues that could hamper their performance, notes a post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network.

3M Peltor E-A-R Buds site explain: E-A-R Buds protect your hearing from environmental noise and they make sure your hearing is not compromised by playing music too loudly. E-A-R Buds limit the maximum volume to 82 dB which is safely below the maximum exposure limit established by OSHA for an 8 hour period. That means everyone can finally get what they want: the workers can have their music with hearing protection built right into the headphones, and the safety officer can breathe easy, knowing the workers’ hearing is safe from both external and internal noises.

Here are Q& As you might find if help for your safety instructions:
No Longer Radios Where We Work June 24, 2016 http://workplacedr.comm.kent.edu/no-longer-radios-where-we-work/
Earpods Or Protective Gear September 18, 2009 http://workplacedr.comm.kent.edu/earpods-or-protective-gear/ workplacedr.comm.kent.edu/…/osha-regulations..
Federal (OSHA) Rules About Radios At Work?
October 13, 2014 http://workplacedr.comm.kent.edu/category/musicnoise-at-work/

Please send us other information you include in your instruction. What you say can protect and encourage a cooperative attitude for your workplace. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.
–William Gorden