“What?! What did you say?! I can’t hear you!” Is this a typical occurrence in your oil or gas operations? Industrial noise in an oil or gas operation is a concern for all employers, with noise levels reaching up to 110 dB(A) or beyond. Studies have shown that the prevalence of hearing loss among Oil and Gas workers can be as high as 27% depending on their work environment. Beyond the on-the-job safety concerns of noise and the impact it has on hearing loss, there are long-term health effects that go well beyond hearing impairment. The CDC reports that hearing loss is the third most chronic physical condition in the US, outpacing diabetes and cancer. Studies have also shown a substantial increase in an individual’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia as the severity of hearing damage increases.

Not only can this noise cause hearing loss and stress, but it also interferes with communications, reduces productivity, and potentially causes accidents due to the inability to hear warning shouts, alarms, or dangerous equipment. In fact, human error contributes to 70% of all accidents in oil and gas due to a lack of situational awareness. Improving communication and reducing the risk of injury are necessary actions and should be prioritized when considering a viable solution.

When trying to decide if a communication headset is right for your oil or gas operation, here are some important questions that you should be asking:

1. If I solve the hearing protection issue, will it create another safety concern?

According to OSHA, situational awareness is “knowing what is going on all around you by having the ability to identify, process, comprehend, and respond to critical elements of information regarding the environment in which you are located.” In oil and gas environments, there are many dangerous things happening at once. It is important to identify all of them or risk the safety of yourself or others. Once you have identified the potential risks, you must quickly process whether you are at risk of injury, and then comprehend the information so that you can take action. Therefore, you need a solution that can identify the risks for you to speed up the “take action” process.

Sensear’s revolutionary SENS® Technology enables 360° situational awareness, retains original sound characteristics, and reduces the risk of accidents. It accomplishes this by isolating and enhancing human speech while reducing harmful background noise, so users can hear speech and stay protected (without needing to remove their headset) while remaining aware of potential hazards. SENS® determines the nature, distance, and directionality of all sounds including speech, machinery, and alarms.

2. Does it provide clear and effective communication in high noise?

How many times have you seen someone pull one of their earmuffs off their ear in order to hear someone talk or to have a conversation? This creates unsafe practices in high-noise environments. Active noise-canceling ear protection is perfectly safe to use in environments where users do not need to communicate with other people. However, in hazardous high-noise environments, workers need to maintain a consistent level of communication without removing their headsets, as disrupted communication can be dangerous.

Sensear offers a full range of communication headsets configurable to your industry needs, and with SENS® Technology, users can communicate face-to-face in the most extreme noise environments. Additionally, users can experience simultaneous audio from multiple sources, allowing their battery-powered headset to receive Two-Way Radio, Bluetooth®, Short-Range, and face-to-face communication all at once. 

3. Is it intrinsically safe? 

When working in oil or gas, there are certain safety requirements that must be met to use the equipment. These work environments are explosive atmospheres where products need to be intrinsically safe. Headsets are electrical equipment that can generate sparks. Sparks (which generate heat) in explosive or hazardous environments can potentially lead to violent explosions. Intrinsically safe headsets are meant to keep the headset user safe by preventing that initial spark.

Intrinsically safe headsets must stand up to and pass a rigorous set of standards put forth by experts in the field of safety. Sensear’s Hazardous Location Headsets are certified by all four major intrinsically safe standards – ATEX, UL, CSA, and IECEx. 

4. Does it provide the highest hearing protection in extremely noisy environments? 

In environments where noise levels exceed 95 dB(A), double (sometimes referred to as dual) hearing protection headsets that combine the use of earplugs and earmuffs allow users to effectively communicate without removing their hearing protection. This is extremely important in oil and gas locations such as pump houses, generator buildings, vac trucks, rig engine rooms, pump trucks, and compressor areas where noise can exceed 100 dB(A). While double hearing protection is not stated as a requirement within OSHA rules and regulations, many more specific industry operations have set guidelines that clearly state double hearing protection as a requirement for safety.

While this method of hearing protection is achieved by wearing both earplugs and a hearing protection headset device at the same time, Sensear is the only manufacturer of double protection headsets with earplugs integrated into the earmuffs, while also incorporating SENS® Technology for 360° situational awareness. Situational awareness is often lost in traditional methods of double hearing protection solutions. Our Extreme Noise Headsets incorporate our unique dual protection feature and offer a total communication solution for hazardous and extremely loud environments, with a noise reduction rating of 36dB NRR. 

5. Is the technology you choose readily available? 

Hearing protection and employee safety is not something that waits on supply chains. Whichever technology you choose, make sure that your supplier can provide prompt delivery and sufficient supply, while providing reliable repair services. A day without the proper protection puts you and your employees at risk.

At Sensear, we take extraordinary measures to make sure your product will give you many years of dependable service. If it doesn’t, we will gladly repair or replace it, at our discretion, with one of equal or greater value under our 1-year warranty guarantee.

Why Choose Sensear?

Sensear has a long history of partnering with the world’s leading oil and gas companies to find the right high-noise communication solutions to implement across their operations. Because of our long-standing relationships with the oil and gas industry, we have developed powerful communication solutions for a wide variety of applications. Sensear is a global leader in developing and manufacturing a wide variety of best-in-class Digital Communication and Active Listening Headsets and Earplugs for use in high noise and hazardous environments. There can be several clothing restrictions in this industry, such as jackets, hats, helmets, gloves, or respirators; however, Sensear offers 3 different styles of headsets to fit your needs (headband, behind-the-neck, or helmet-mounted), as well as extreme noise earplugs for use with respirators or other facial restrictors.

Communication is critical and hearing loss is cumulative if not prevented. Hearing protection is therefore crucial to the well-being of your employees. When investing in the protection of your employees’ hearing, choose the best technology for total communication, hearing protection, and safety – choose SENS® Technology.

Initially featured on the Sensear Website

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