Hearing Loss is the 2nd Most Common Workplace Illness
- Every year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous
- 16 Million of them work in the Manufacturing Sector which accounts for 13% of the US workforce
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational hearing loss is the 2nd most common, non fatal
- This data is only for workers that have become hearing impaired, data for workers with measurable occupational hearing loss is not recorded by OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict regulations about Noise in the Workplace (regulation 1910.95)
Key guidelines of the regulation include
- Limited exposure time to noise levels above 90 decibels dBa
- Use of feasible administrative or engineering controls to reduce noise, if such controls fail to reduce noise, provide personal protective equipment
- Administration of a hearing conservation program that includes monitoring noise levels, notifying employees of exposure and audiometric testing at no cost to the employee
Failure to comply with OSHA regulation 1910.95 may result in penalties ranging from $5,000 to $70,000 for the first offense, and fines up to $7000 PER DAY for repeat offenses
Note: OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker’s time weighted average over an 8
hour day. With noise, OSHA’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 90 dBA for all workers for an 8 hour day. The OSHA standard uses a 5 dBA
exchange rate. This means that when the noise level is increased by 5 dBA, the amount of time a person can be exposed to a certain noise
level to receive the same dose is cut in half.
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