OSHA starts evaluation of construction industry noise standards

OSHA is planning to issue a request for information in November to gauge the effectiveness and feasibility of adopting more noise-hazard requirements.

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | June 28, 2016
OSHA starts evaluation of construction industry noise standards
OSHA starts evaluation of construction industry noise standards

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun evaluating the potential for a new noise in construction standard. The potential standard was included on the agency’s regulatory agenda published in May. OSHA is planning to issue a request for information in November to gauge the effectiveness and feasibility of adopting more noise-hazard requirements.

Two recent studies on occupational hearing loss conducted by the Department of Energy and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that a significant percentage of construction workers have suffered hearing loss during their careers. The permissible exposure limit for construction noise is 90 A-weighted decibels over an eight-hour period, but NIOSH's recommended exposure level is 85 A-weighted decibels over that timeframe.

The more stringent rule impacts workers in factories, and experts say that making the tougher standard apply to construction workers would make a real difference in protecting their hearing.

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