A Hearing Conservation Program (29 CFR 1910.95) must be implemented if employees are exposed to an average noise level of 85dBA for an 8-hour time-weighted average. These employees are required to be given annual audiometric testing and hearing protection education, training, and counseling to be compliant with OSHA. It is required to have the 29 CFR 1910.95 amendment posted in the workplace.
Noise is noise! All noise will cause damage to your hearing, but more noise will expedite hearing loss. Once hair cells are damaged in your cochlea, they cannot be restored.
Three feet rule: If you are three feet away, or an arm length away, and you have to shout, it’s a good sign you need hearing protection!
YOUR HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM SHOULD HAVE:
- Noise assessment with a noise control engineer or industrial hygienist
- Noise control – how to make it quieter
- Best thing to do: engineer controls- remove the hazard.
- Next best thing: control rooms- remove the worker.
- Last resort: implement hearing protection
- Implement hearing protection, such as semi-aural (banded) earplugs, earplugs, or earmuffs.
- Audiometric monitoring
- Worker training and motivation
- Record keeping in your OSHA 300 Log
Learn more about OSHA’s regulations at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.95