Subpart: D/G – Occupational Health & Environmental Control
OSHA Standard: 1926.52/1910.95
Occurrence: Initially when hazard exist - noise level exceeds decibels (dBA) over an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA).
Frequency: Annually for each employee included in the hearing conservation program
Training Style: Classroom, hands-on, tool box talk (refresher).
The employer shall provide training in the use and care of all hearing protectors provided to employees. The Training program is made up of three components:
(1) The employer shall institute a training program for all employees who are exposed to noise at or above an 8-hour time weighted average of 85 decibels, and shall ensure employee participation in such program.
(2) The training program shall be repeated annually for each employee included in the hearing conservation program. Information provided in the training program shall be updated to be consistent with changes in protective equipment and work processes.
(3) The employer shall ensure that each employee is informed of the following:
(i) The effects of noise on hearing;
(ii) The purpose of hearing protectors, the advantages, disadvantages, and attenuation of various types, and instructions on selection, fitting, use, and care; and
(iii) The purpose of audiometric testing, and an explanation of the test procedures.
The next piece of this standard relates to access to information and training materials:
(1) The employer shall make available to affected employees or their representatives copies of this standard and shall also post a copy in the workplace.
(2) The employer shall provide to affected employees any informational materials pertaining to the standard that are supplied to the employer by the Assistant Secretary.
(3) The employer shall provide, upon request, all materials related to the employer’s training and education program pertaining to this standard to the Assistant Secretary and the Director.
Take an active role in the training for occupational noise exposure. Follow the company guidelines for training and proper selection of PPE based upon the hazard.
This standard raises the question, when is the last time that you reviewed your occupational noise exposure policy, or have done testing? Do you hold refresher training annually? And how do you track that training? This is one of the few standards that does require refresher training annually. Another question that comes up is the use of headphones in the workplace. In a 1987 letter of interpretation that dealt with the use of walkman radio, tape or CD players and their effect when hearing protection is in use. Special ear muffs equipped with volume-limited music for use in monotonous high noise jobs to protect employee hearing but at the same time allowing them to enjoy background music is in compliance as long as their average music output is less than 90 dBA. However, use of any listening device over required ear protection is a violation.