Safety Minute: The Importance of Having a Hearing Conservation Program

Did you know, about 24% of the hearing difficulty among U.S. workers is caused by occupational exposures?

What is noise?

Noise is a sound, especially one that is loud, unpleasant or that causes disturbance. Noise affects us each day while at work and at home, but it is the level and duration that can be hazardous. Noise is hazardous because once it causes damage, there is no way to reverse its effects. Different levels of sound can create hearing loss if it is at the right decibel strength and duration.

Is noise a problem at your workplace?

  • Do you have to raise your voice to have a normal conversation?
  • Are there instances of random but frequent short bursts of loud noises at the workplace?
  • At the end of the day, do you notice temporary hearing loss (your hearing is muffled, or your ears are ringing)?

Regulatory Actions 29 CFR 1910.95

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to have a hearing conservation program in place if workers are exposed to a time-weighted average (TWA) noise level of 85 decibels (dBA) or higher over an 8-hour work shift.

Hazards of Noise Include:

  1. Permanent hearing loss
  2. Distractions
  3. Productivity levels may suffer
  4. Physical and psychological stress for employees
  5. Missing work instructions / alarms

Potential Contributing Factors:

  1. Equipment and Machinery
  2. HVAC
  3. Air leaks
  4. Age
  5. Hobbies outside of work (rides motorcycles, hunts)

Ways to Control Hazardous Noise

Sites should conduct a noise survey of their work place to identify areas of concern. If employees are exposed to 85 dBA additional monitoring and the implementation of controls is recommended.

Examples of Controls:

How can Capaccio Environmental Engineering Help?

  • Conduct site noise survey
  • Conduct an 8-hour TWA personal and area noise sampling
  • Provide recommendations and improvements
  • Create an OSHA compliant Hearing Conservation Program

For more information

If you have any questions regarding this subject matter or other EHS objectives, please contact us:

At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of “Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper”. We align EHS with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success. Our unique approach combines our extensive EHS experience with innovative tools, such as our EHS Dashboard™, to effectively address your challenges. Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EHS and overall business performance for our clients. We are certified WBENC, WBE.