Monday 2 September 2013

Forklift truck drivers and mandatory hearing protection

Interesting one this morning:
If you have a mandatory hearing protection area, should forklift truck drivers wear hearing protection?
The issues are:

  1. Are drivers above the 2nd action point of the Control of Noise at Work Regs?
  2. Will risks increase if drivers are wearing hearing protection?
  3. Does "mandatory" mean what it says on the tin?

The answers are:

  1. A calculation shows that drivers are below the 2nd action point.
  2. Forklift truck operations are always high risk, and impediments will increase the risk.
  3. If you've got a mandatory area, then all must wear hearing protection.

Risk [2] far outweighs risk [1].

Therefore, you should not require your forklift truck drivers to wear hearing protection and you should amend your signage and working practices in the high noise level areas to state that the wearing of hearing protection does not apply to forklift truck drivers. 

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