2013 Safe-In-Sound Awards
The 2013 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards were presented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in partnership with NHCA at the NHCA 2013 conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. Click here for the press release and here for a picture of the winners.
First Row Left to Right: Linda Howarth (Dangerous Decibels); William “Billy” Martin (Dangerous Decibels); Andy Perkins (Vulcan Materials); Kelly Bailey (Vulcan Materials); Jeanne Virtue (Johns Manville); Barb Menard (Johns Manville).
Second Row Left to Right: Pam Graydon (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health); Deanna Meinke (Dangerous Decibels); Thais Morata (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health); Judy Sobel (Dangerous Decibels); Susan Griest (Dangerous Decibels); Rick Neitzel (Safe-in-Sound Committee); John Franks (Safe-in-Sound Committee); Laura Kauth (National Hearing Conservation Association).
Back Row Left to Right: Dr. John Howard (Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health); Ga-Lo Vann (Dangerous Decibels); James Lankford (Safe-in-Sound Committee).
ANSI/ASA S12.6-2008 American National Standard Methods for Measuring the Real-Ear Attenuation of Hearing Protectors
This revision to ANSI S12.6-1997 is now available. Specifies laboratory-based procedures for measuring, analyzing, and reporting the passive noise-reducing capabilities of hearing protection devices. Two fitting procedures are provided: Method A) trained-subject fit, intended to describe the capabilities of the devices fitted by thoroughly trained users, and Method B) inexperienced-subject fit, intended to approximate the protection that can be attained by groups of informed users in workplace hearing conservation programs. This standard can be ordered from the ASA Standards Store
ANSI/ASA S12.68-2007 American National Standard Methods of Estimating Effective A-Weighted Sound Pressure Levels When Hearing Protectors are Worn.
This standard will be valuable to managers, industrial hygienists and hearing conservation professionals responsible for selecting and assigning hearing protectors for noise-exposed workers: military and law-enforcement personnel; manufacturers of hearing protectors; hearing protection testing laboratories; acoustic consultants; and regulatory agencies. The standard is accompanied by an informational spreadsheet programmed to perform the calculations specified in the standard itself. This Standard can be ordered from the ASA Standards Store. For an overview of the standard and its impact, see the information concerning changes to EPA labeling requirements in the Noise Regulation Section above.
NHCA - OSHA - NIOSH Alliance
OSHA’s Alliance Program is designed to provide parties an opportunity to participate in a voluntary cooperative relationship with OSHA for purposes such as training and education, outreach and communication, and promoting national dialogue on various aspects of workplace safety and health. The Alliance has produced a Best Practices document , “Hearing Protection-Emerging Trends: Individual Fit Testing” providing general information on fit-testing of hearing protectors. Click here for additional information about fit-testing and 3M’s E-A-Rfit System.
OSHA posts Summary Report of Stakeholder Meeting on Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss
OSHA held an informal stakeholder meeting Nov. 3, 2011, on preventing occupational hearing loss to provide a public forum and gather information on the best practices for noise reduction in the workplace. The meeting included discussions on personal protective equipment, hearing conservation programs and engineering controls. The purpose of the meeting was to elicit the views of employers, workers, and noise control and safety and health professionals about the hazards of occupational exposure to noise and how to best control them. OSHA held this stakeholder meeting as part of its commitment to work with stakeholders on approaches to prevent hearing loss. The meeting had 30 participants, representing industry, trade organizations, academia, unions, and government agencies, as well as consultants, attorneys, and other parties. All participants were given the opportunity to provide verbal comments at the meeting. A Summary of the stakeholder meeting is posted on OSHA's Web site.
OSHA withdraws proposal on workplace noise controls after initial public comment.
OSHA had proposed to issue an interpretation of the term “feasible administrative or engineering controls” to amend its current enforcement policy, but has now stepped back and issued the following announcement.
OSHA investigates under recording of workplace injuries and illnesses, including noise-induced hearing loss.
A new Directive from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a National Emphasis Program to review the accuracy of employer injury and illness records. OSHA compliance officers have started to visit employers, especially those with low recording rates, to find out what's happening and identify cases of under-recording. The directive can be found by going here: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02_09-08.pdf
The National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) has established a Form 300 Task Force, chaired by Dr. Alice Suter, to address these issues. If you would like more information from OSHA, contact Dave Schmidt at 202-693-1886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The list of records to be reviewed is quite comprehensive. Although hearing loss is not mentioned in the definition of injury or illness, it is included in the Violation Documentation Worksheet in the appendix.
The NHCA’s OSHA Form 300 Task Force report from April 26, 2011 is available by clicking here.
Changes in EPA Hearing Protection Labeling
The Noise Reduction Ratings (NRRs) that are emblazoned on all hearing protection devices that we buy and recommend are governed by a 1979 Hearing Protector Labeling Regulation promulgated under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That elderly rule has many shortcomings, not the least of which is the fact that labeled NRRs bear little resemblance to what groups of users can expect to obtain in actual hearing conservation programs. Unfortunately the EPA's Noise Office has been essentially out of business since shortly after the regulation was promulgated and thus has been unable to consider revising and updating that regulation. Much has been learned in the intervening 31 years.
That situation is being addressed by EPA. They announced a proposed new rule last year on August 5, 2009, and held public hearings and accepted comments. A final rule is expected sometime later this year or next year (2011). To learn more about its status, impact, and related details, and to keep current, visit NRRUpdate.com
Comparison of OSHA, MSHA, FRA, and NIOSH Regulations and Recommendations
This document provides an overview of the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), MSHA (Mining Safety and Health Administration), FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) hearing conservation regulations as compared to the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) recommendations for best practice.
Comparison of Regulations Across Canada
This excel spreadsheet provides an overview of the regulations in the 13 Canadian Provinces and the Canadian Federal Government.
OSHA Ruling on Employer-Paid PPE
This article discusses the final rule OSHA issued on November 15, 2007 on employer-paid personal protective equipment (PPE). The rule will force employers to pay for PPE, removing the financial burden from employees.
Ontario Sets Noise Exposure Limits
July 1, 2007
The Ontario Government strengthened protection for industrial workers who are exposed to high levels of noise, effective July 1, 2007. Hearing loss due to exposure to high levels of noise in the workplace, is a serious occupational illness. The Regulations for Industrial Establishments and for Offshore Oil and Gas Operators allowed workers to be exposed to up to 90 decibels of noise for an eight-hour period.
The new regulations in 2007 lowered the allowable limit to 85 decibels. It also introduced a new time-weighted averaging method (with a 3-dB exchange rate) that provides a more accurate way of determining the actual amount of noise a worker is exposed to. This is the first time these noise regulations were significantly updated since they were introduced 30 years ago.
New Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Occupational Noise Exposure
October 27, 2006 (promulgated); effective February 26, 2007
A new rule by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) seeks to prevent hearing loss by railroad employees who spend most of their working hours inside the cab of a locomotive. The new rule, patterned in large part after the OSHA regulations for noise and hearing conservation for general industry, would reduce unnecessary noise exposure and potential hearing loss of locomotive engineers and trainmen. It modifies current noise level standards, which were established in 1980, and also sets out additional requirements.
The new rule requires railroads to conduct noise monitoring and to implement a hearing conservation program for railroad operating employees whose noise exposure equals or exceeds an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels. The changes require manufacturers to design and build locomotives with quieter cabs and for railroads to maintain them to new standards. In addition, the rule requires train crews to use hearing protection and railroads to provide training in hearing loss prevention, implement hearing conservation programs and conduct regular noise monitoring.
FRA expects that this proposed rule will reduce the likelihood of noise-induced hearing loss for railroad operating employees.
Go here to download the 74-page Federal Register document
Employers Must Post Illness/Injury Summaries Beginning February 2007
February 1, 2007
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today reminded employers that beginning Feb. 1, they must post a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2006. Employers are only required to post OSHA Form 300A (summary), not the OSHA 300 log. The summary must be posted from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2007. Go here for the full announcement.
OSHA Safety Bulletin re Hearing Conservation for Hearing-Impaired Workers
December 27, 2005
OSHA Safety Health and Information Bulletin (SHIB 12-27-2005)This Safety and Health Information Bulletin is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. The Bulletin is advisory in nature, informational in content, and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. Hearing-impaired workers face many challenges in the workplace, including communication, identifying and
using suitable hearing protection and the use of hearing aids at work. Industrial hearing conservation programs may not fully address the specific needs of hearing-impaired workers for hearing protection and communication.
This Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) focuses on how hearing conservation programs can address the needs of hearing-impaired workers who are exposed to high levels of noise in their workplace.
OSHA's Final Rule for Recording Occupational Hearing Loss
On July 1, 2002, OSHA published its final rule for recording occupational hearing loss on the Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (29 CFR 1904.10); effective date January 1, 2003. Additional clarifications were released on December 17, 2002. On January 1, 2004 it became mandatory to record hearing loss in a separate column on the OSHA Form 300.
For additional information on recordability requirements, click here.
For recent OSHA letters of interpretation on related issues, click here.
For OSHA interpretation on acceptable professions who may make decisions on work relatedness and recordability,click here.