In accordance with the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1270:2002 all certified hearing protection devices are classed depending on the level of protection they provide. Class 3 protects against noise levels to 100 decibels under the prescribed conditions. Class 4 to 105dB and Class 5 to 110dB.
When choosing either an earplug or earmuff there are a number of considerations:
1 What other safety equipment has to be worn. Hard Hats, safety glasses and respiratory protection all require head space and may determine whether an earplug or earmuff - and then what type of muff - is required
2 The work environment. It is not always hygienic to insert earplugs with dirty hands. Similarly earmuffs can be uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods in hot environments.
3 Need to hear. Choosing the highest level of protection may not always be appropriate if the user needs to hear warning sounds or others around him.
4 Comfort of user. If the user is not comfortable wearing the supplied protection then there is a greater chance they will not use it and place themselves and you at risk. Better to let them choose to a degree.
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