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Should I Let My Employees Wear Earbuds?

Bracewells Bob Nichols and Caroline Melo consider in a recent IndustryWeek article the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance concerns with earbud use in manufacturing plants and other safety sensitive workplaces.

The use of earbuds and similar devices to listen to music, books and podcasts, and conduct phone conversations has grown rapidly in recent years – particularly among millennials and post-millennials. For example, wireless AirPods now seem to be everywhere. 

The concern for employers with these devices, particularly in safety-sensitive industries like manufacturing, is how occupational safety is impacted by their use – and could OSHA even regard their use in a manufacturing environment to be illegal?

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