Employees working in areas with loud noise are at risk of hearing loss if noise exposure is not properly controlled. OSHA requires that facilities with noise exposure over 85 dBA on a time-weighted average (TWA) develop a Hearing Conservation Program to identify employees who are at risk of hearing loss. OSHA also requires that facilities implement engineering controls or require the use of hearing protection to reduce the noise level exposed to employees if noise levels exceed 90 dBA.
Why Conduct Noise Monitoring?
OSHA requires all facilities with time-weighted average noise levels over 85 dBA to develop a Hearing Conservation Program. In order to determine if you are above or below this threshold, noise monitoring should be conducted throughout your facility to determine which of your employees should be included in this Hearing Conservation Program. Noise monitoring is conducted by attaching noise dosimeters to employees or areas. These dosimeters will record the sound level over a fixed period of time and can calculate the time-weighted average for noise exposure.
OSHA states that noise monitoring should be reconducted whenever there is a change in equipment or layout that may have an impact on noise levels. However, small changes such as old equipment or increased production rates may lead to an increase in noise levels throughout your facility. Because of this, it may be a good idea to reconduct noise monitoring on a more routine basis. For more information on why you may wish to reconduct noise monitoring, see our article “Are Your Noise Monitoring Results Still Valid?”
Read more on when to retest here.
What is a Hearing Conservation Program?
If your employees are exposed to average sound levels at or above 85 dBA, they must be included in a Hearing Conservation Program. These employees must be given audiometric testing annually by a medical professional to determine if they experience hearing loss over time. Hearing protection must be offered to affected employees, and hearing conservation training shall be provided. If your employees are exposed to average sound levels at or above 90 dBA, hearing protection shall be required. You must ensure that the selected hearing protection adequately reduces employee noise exposure below 90 dBA. You should also evaluate potential engineering or administrative controls that could be implemented to reduce employee noise exposure.
How Can CTI Help?
CTI has worked with numerous facilities with noise monitoring and hearing conservation. Our team of engineers can help keep your employees safe from hazards associated with high noise levels with the following:
- Conducting noise monitoring on-site to determine noise levels throughout your facility;
- Developing a Hearing Conservation Program;
- Evaluating and recommending engineering or administrative controls that can be implemented to reduce noise exposure;
- Calculating the effectiveness of selected hearing protection;
- Conducting hearing conservation training.
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Lockout/Tagout and Energy Control Procedures
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Noise Exposure Monitoring
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