OSHA seeks best practices to prevent occupational hearing loss
Later this month, the agency is holding an informal meeting with employers, workers, noise control experts, and public health professionals. It is part of an education, outreach, and consultation initiative on preventing work-related hearing loss OSHA launched earlier this year.
Officials say they are looking for information on some of the best hearing conservation programs, personal protective equipment, and feasible engineering controls, which involve modifying or replacing equipment or making other physical changes.
Some examples of engineering controls are:
- Choosing low-noise tools and machinery.
- Maintaining and lubricating machinery and equipment.
- Placing a barrier between the noise source and employee.
- Enclosing or isolating the noise source.
Other methods to protect employees' hearing include administrative controls, such as operating noise machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed and limiting the amount of time a worker spends at a noise source.
OSHA requires employers to implement an effective hearing conservation program in general industry when worker noise exposure is at least 85 decibels (acoustic) for an eight-hour shift, and in the construction industry when exposures exceed 90 dBA for an eight-hour period.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 7, 2011
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