• Bruce LevittThe time for HEARING PROTECTION fit testing is NOW

    Bev Borst, a Technical Service Specialist for 3M Canada Company, Personal Safety Division sets up an EARfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System demo

    Bev Borst, a Technical Service Specialist for 3M Canada Company, Personal Safety Division sets up an EARfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System demo

    We’re pretty proud to be recognized as a leader in respiratory fit testing in Canada. Standing behind the best product and best protocols (particulate quantitative as opposed to qualitative) has certainly served us well, to the point where ‘fit testing’ in many circles has become synonymous with ‘respirator fit testing’ – but I think that is about to change.

    3M has launched their new EARfit™ Validation System for 2015 and they’re calling it the “Dual-Ear”. I saw a demo last month, and it is pretty amazing.

    We work with a lot of Health & Safety professionals and we’re often asked, “What level of protection are my workers really receiving from their hearing protection device? How can I know for sure?” Another question we frequently hear is, “How do we protect ourselves from a hearing loss claim?” Well, I believe the answer to both questions is The EARfit™ Validation System.

    What if I told you there was a device that you could use at your facility (not a doctor’s office, for example) to measure your employees’ Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR), validate it over time, and document it? I don’t need to tell you about the due diligence a system like this represents.

    We also represent a similar product from Honeywell called VeriPro, and it certainly has its advantages, the main being its agnostic approach – you can test with any brand of earplugs, whereas with the 3M product you have to use 3M plugs. If 3M had a limited breadth of line I could see this being an issue, but with such a vast selection I don’t think it is. 3M has shown a great commitment to the program and device by having most of their line “probed”, meaning they have test plugs with a probe bored through it to do the actual measurement/testing, and therein is the main difference between the units. The 3M product does an objective, quantifiable result whereas the VeriPro is subjective to a degree, and relies on user input (clicking when they hear a noise). I leave it with you to weigh the pros and cons of each unit.

    If you manage any form of hearing conservation program (by the way, the new term is “Hearing Loss Prevention Program” in the new standard), and heck, even if you don’t yet, contact me so we can arrange a live demo. It truly is a win-win for the employer and employee, and ultimately may become the defacto ‘fit testing’ term.

    We believe that an effective Hearing Loss Prevention Program includes taking the appropriate steps to understand people’s noise exposure, manage that exposure, and regular employee testing.

    Levitt-Safety offers the full scope of products and services to help you build your program. Contact us and we will show you how.

    Bruce Levitt | President
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville