OSHA recognizes noise or unwanted sound as one of the most pervasive occupational health problems facing the American worker. Therefore, OSHA has developed the Hearing Conservation Standard, 29 CFR 1910.95, designed to protect workers against the effects of noise exposure.
While noise is considered to be a by-product of industrial activities, and the typical Federal workforce is not involved with industrial processes, Federal employees in certain types of jobs are in fact at risk for exposure to high levels of noise, which can result in incidents of noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise-Induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. Temporary hearing loss results from short-term exposures to noise, and normal hearing returns after a period of rest. However, prolonged exposure to high noise levels over a period of time generally results in permanent damage to hearing. The extent of damage depends primarily on the intensity of the noise and the duration of the exposure.
Federal work environments involved with activities that expose employees to noise must comply with requirements set forth in the OSHA Hearing Conservation Standard. The OSHA standard mandates noise monitoring and the development of a Hearing Conservation Program if occupational noise levels exceed specified limits. Federal Occupational Health can assist these agencies in complying with the provisions of the standard by offering the following services. FOH will:
- Conduct noise monitoring to determine whether employees are over exposed to noise at the work place.
- Assist in the development of a comprehensive written hearing conservation program.
- Assist in the implementation of effective engineering controls to eliminate or minimize the effects of noise exposure.
- Provide assistance in procuring hearing protection devices.
- Provide training in the proper use, fitting, and maintenance of hearing protection devices.
- Provide audiometric testing.