The Firearms Industry is keenly aware that hearing protection is necessary and positive benefit. OSHA requires hearing protection for those exposed to over an 85 decibel time weighted average across 8 hours. However, you may be unaware that your business could mitigate the need for hearing protection through simple changes and process decisions.
Firearms manufacturers and gunsmiths both may use machinery that generates substantial noise and risk of hearing impairment.Sometimes, a set of storage racks can create an “echo chamber” effect that brings your business above the action level for hearing conservation. However, you can often mitigate the noise produced by machinery through careful placement in your facility and using sound absorbing materials.
Firing ranges can mitigate exposure to their retail employees by ensuring that the range is accessed through a separate area of the business and that no doors to the range are left open. You could likewise protect your Range Safety Officers by providing enclosed viewing rooms that keep them separate from the range noise.
If your business is found to produce noise above the OSHA proscribed action levels then your business will need to implement specific Hearing Conservation requirements.Even if your business is not above an action level it is beneficial for any firearms related business to maintain a written Hearing Conservation Program (HCP). Producing and maintain an HCP can protect your business in the event of an OSHA inspection.It accomplishes this by documented your businesses strict policies regarding the use and provision of hearing protection equipment and what tests you have conducted to ensure you are not above the safe levels of noise.
If your business is above an action level for Hearing Conservation, then your HCP will also document what tests your company performs to ensure employees hearing health is not being adversely affected.