OSHA's hearing conservation program is designed to protect workers exposed to occupational noise. Employers are required to determine if employees are exposed at our above the required noise levels, and establish and maintain an audiometric testing program, including baseline and annual audiograms, training, and follow-up procedures.
NOISE MONITORING & AUDIOMETRIC TESTING
A thorough assessment of noise levels in a workplace, known as a noise survey, is essential to an effective hearing conservation program. MJS Safety can conduct area noise sampling and personnel noise sampling to determine when and where employees have occupational noise exposure. We can also conduct audiograms for affected employees.
There are two types of audiograms required in the hearing conservation program: baseline and annual. The baseline audiogram is the reference audiogram against which future (annual) audiograms are compared. The audiometric testing program should include:
Making audiometric testing available at no cost to employees who are exposed to an action level of 85 dB or above, measured as an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA).
Having a licensed or certified audiologist or a physician responsible for the program.
Baseline audiograms must be provided within six months of an employee’s first exposure at or above an 8-hour TWA of 85 dB. An exception is the use of mobile test vans to obtain audiograms. In these instances, baseline audiograms must be completed within one year after an employee’s first exposure to workplace noise at or above a TWA of 85 dB.
Employees must be fitted with, issued, and required to wear hearing protectors for any period exceeding 6 months after their first exposure until the baseline audiogram is conducted.
Employees must not be exposed to workplace noise for 14 hours preceding the baseline test; however, appropriate hearing protectors can serve as a substitute for this requirement and can be worn during this time period.
Annual audiograms must be conducted within one year of the baseline to identify deterioration in hearing ability so that protective follow-up measures can be initiated before hearing loss progresses. Annual audiograms must be routinely compared to baseline audiograms to determine whether the audiogram is valid and to determine whether the employee has lost hearing ability, i.e., if a standard threshold shift (STS) has occurred. STS is an average shift in either ear of 10 dB or more at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz. An averaging method of determining STS was chosen because it diminished the number of persons falsely identified as having STS and who are later shown not to have had a change in hearing ability. Additionally, the method is sensitive enough to identify meaningful shifts in hearing early on.
The employee must be given a referral for further testing when test results are questionable or when problems of a medical nature are suspected.
If additional testing is necessary or if the employer suspects a medical pathology of the ear is caused or aggravated by the wearing of hearing protectors, the employee should be referred for a clinical audiological evaluation or otological exam, as appropriate.
720- 203-4948 - carrie jordan
720-203-6325 - JEREMY JORDAN
303-881-2409 - michael stookey