Industrial Noise & Hearing Loss: OSHA 1910.95(a), Part 1


“In its tradition of excellence, SKC used its vast experience and expertise to design its own line of noise and sound instruments specifically to meet the requests of OEHS professionals. In particular, SKC developed its NoiseCHEK Dosimeter to make it easier for professionals to comply with Standard 1910.95. Our staff, including our team of Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationists and occupational health and safety professionals, represents 200 years of combined noise-measurement experience. Our No. 1 goal is to provide the easiest-to-use tools to aid in the success of hearing conservation programs and the protection of workers.” 724-941-9701 (800-752-8472) in US), www.skcinc.com

History

The serious consequences of industrial noise have not been lost on OSHA. In March 1983, OSHA incorporated the Hearing Conservation Amendment (HCA) into its existing occupational noise exposure standard that had been enforced since 1974. The occupational noise exposure standard is located in 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.95.

Luckily, the Occupational Noise Exposure Standard is relatively user-friendly. Its thoroughness eliminates a great deal of “reader interpretation” that many standards require. This leaves it pretty clear-cut and easier to follow. 

Implementing a three-pronged approach to address industrial noise exposure, the basic components consist of recognition, evaluation and control. Additionally, training and recordkeeping are used to support each of the standard’s basic components. The importance of these support elements are extremely important in order for employers to stay in compliance.

Why Standard is Important

1910.95(a) part of the standard initiates and establishes a hearing conservation program to protect personnel from the effects of occupational noise exposure.

Occupational noise exposure is a significant health hazard and is present in almost all modern industrial workplaces. According to NIOSH, some 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year. 

This number impacts both employees—who can potentially suffer permanent hearing loss due to exposure to excessive industrial noise levels—and employers, who can see profits reduced by increased costs of worker claims related to noise-induced hearing loss or injury.

Key Compliance Requirements

According to the OSHA website, “The Hearing Conservation Amendment to the OSHA Occupational noise exposure standard, 29 CFR 1910.95, requires that employers establish a hearing conservation program for employees whose noise exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour, time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA.”

Further, protection against the effects of noise exposure “shall be provided when the sound levels exceed those (shown in Table G-16) when measured on the A scale of a standard sound level meter at slow response. When noise levels are determined by octave band analysis, the equivalent A-weighted sound level may be determined in the chart, below.

Resources: (for further reading on standard 1919.95) 

Equivalent sound level contours Octave band sound pressure levels may be converted to the equivalent A-weighted sound level by plotting them on this graph and noting the A-weighted sound level corresponding to the point of highest penetration into the sound level contours. This equivalent A-weighted sound level, which may differ from the actual A-weighted sound level of the noise, is used to determine exposure limits from Table 1.G-16. (Source: OSHA)

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