Hearing Conservation Group Petitions Osha To Lower Noise Standard’s Exposure Threshold

Westminster, Colo.-based National Hearing Conservation Association has requested the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lower the Occupation

Westminster, Colo.-based National Hearing Conservation Association has requested the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lower the Occupation Noise Standard 29 CFR 1910.95 permissible exposure limit (PEL) from 90 dBA to 85 dBA, and action level from 85 to 80 dBA. Citing recent research by NIOSH and other organizations, NHCA asserted that American workers face a considerable risk of noise-induced hearing loss associated with long-term work at the current PEL and a 5 dB time/intensity exchange rate. The association further advised OSHA to lower the latter to 3 dB and extend the PEL to construction and other industries not covered by 29 CFR 1910.95.

Noise-induced hearing loss is an insidious, permanent, and irreversible disease√∑that is 100 percent preventable, said NHCA President Rick Neitzel. OSHA’s 30-year-old noise exposure regulation is not consistent with current scientific knowledge, [nor] uniformly applied across all industries, and has not proven effective in preventing noise-induced hearing loss. Nearly every other country with workplace safety regulations, he adds, has adopted the 85 dBA PEL.