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M25 community trials ear defender system to improve worker safety

Jackson is part of One Community – an integrated framework of contractors all working in partnership with Connect Plus, which manages and operates the M25 network on behalf of National Highways.

As part of One Community, Jackson has been trialling a state-of-the-art ear defender system designed to improve worker safety.

Members of the Jackson Highways team working on a bridge bearings replacement scheme at Woodford in east London used the system designed by audiology specialists Eave.

As opposed to traditional ear defenders that cut out all noise, Eave’s ‘active’ ear defenders are designed to reduce levels of hazardous noise but allow wearers to continue to hear environmental sound. This means operatives have more situational awareness and do not feel as isolated in their working environment. They can also still have conversations with colleagues while wearing the equipment.

Monitoring

The Eave system also monitors noise levels at different locations on a work site, as well as inside and outside the ear cup. These noise levels are processed and the data used to produce both a sitemap and individualised personal noise reports.

During the trial, the team detected an unacceptable noise exposure level during jacking frame construction and deconstruction - a stage of the works where significant noise levels were not expected. When the same phase of works came up a few months later, this information allowed the site management team to plan the works, so exposure was reduced to acceptable levels.

“This is a great example of how new technology can help us identify and reduce the risks from our work,” said Jackson site agent Daniel Chasen.

The trial is part of the M25 community’s Healthier Highways programme and the results will be used to help understand the pros and cons of the new system, and whether it helps to improve overall levels of hearing protection.