OSHA’s Occupational Hearing Loss Standard: How to Check if Your Workplace is Too Noisy
Aug 22, 2013
What is OSHA‘s Occupational Noise Standard?
OSHA regulations stipulate that if “any employee’s exposure equals or exceeds an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels, the employer shall develop and implement a noise monitoring program.”
What are some signs that your workplace has hazardous noise?
• If at work, you have to raise your voice for someone standing an arm’s length or less away to hear you.
• There is a ringing in your ears after you leave work.
• You have temporary hearing loss upon leaving work.
How can you test if the noise level at your workplace reaches dangerous levels?
You can’t be sure whether you’re being protected from hazardous noise or meeting OSHA regulations without completing an audiometric test. But you can compare your noise exposure levels at work to these everyday noises to get a vague idea of your risk level:
• 80 dB – Dial tone of a phone
• 85 dB – City traffic from inside a car
• 90 dB – Truck traffic or a train while at 500 ft
• 95 dB – Subway train at 200 ft
• 100 dB – Snowmobile or Motorcycle
• 107 dB – Power mower
While these comparisons can give you can vague idea of whether or not your workplace complies with OSHA standards, it is important to get a formal test done to make sure you and your employees are protected.