February 24, 2024

Are you tired of the constant hum of noise in your workplace? Are you worried about the long-term effects of exposure to loud noises? Then you’re not alone! The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set guidelines for the recommended noise level in the workplace to protect employees from hearing loss and other health problems. In this article, we’ll explore what the OSHA recommended noise level is and how it can help keep you safe on the job.

Quick Answer:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that noise levels in the workplace should not exceed 90 decibels (dBA) over an 8-hour workday. This recommendation is based on OSHA’s Noise Standard, which was established to protect workers from the adverse health effects of excessive noise exposure. The standard requires employers to implement hearing conservation programs when noise levels exceed 85 dBA over an 8-hour workday or when employees are exposed to a high-frequency or impulsive noise that can damage hearing. It is important for employers to follow these guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees and to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

Understanding OSHA’s Role in Noise Control

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) is a federal law that established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the United States Department of Labor. The primary goal of OSHA is to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for employees by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.

OSHA has the authority to inspect workplaces and issue citations for violations of its standards and regulations. It also provides whistleblower protections for employees who report violations of certain laws, including the OSH Act.

Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. This includes providing personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary, and ensuring that hazardous materials are handled and stored properly.

OSHA sets and enforces standards for noise exposure in the workplace, which are designed to protect workers from the adverse health effects of excessive noise exposure. These standards require employers to implement hearing conservation programs when noise exposure exceeds certain levels, and to provide PPE such as earplugs or earmuffs when necessary.

Overall, the OSH Act plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and health of workers in the United States, and OSHA’s regulations and standards provide important protections for workers exposed to excessive noise in the workplace.

OSHA’s Noise Exposure Limits

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency in the United States responsible for enforcing safety and health regulations in the workplace. OSHA has established guidelines for the allowable noise exposure limits for workers in various industries. These guidelines are designed to prevent hearing loss and other hearing-related problems that can result from prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels.

OSHA’s noise exposure limits are based on the concept of a permissible exposure limit (PEL), which is the maximum amount of noise that a worker can be exposed to without putting their hearing at risk. The PEL is determined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is enforced by OSHA.

The PEL for noise exposure is based on a time-weighted average (TWA) over a 24-hour period. This means that the noise level to which a worker is exposed is averaged over a period of 24 hours, taking into account both the duration and intensity of the noise exposure.

The PEL for noise exposure varies depending on the industry and the specific job tasks that a worker performs. For example, the PEL for construction workers may be different from the PEL for manufacturing workers.

OSHA’s noise exposure limits are also based on the type of noise source. For example, the PEL for noise exposure from power tools may be different from the PEL for noise exposure from heavy machinery.

It is important to note that OSHA’s noise exposure limits are not the only standards that apply to noise in the workplace. Other regulations, such as those set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), may also apply depending on the specific circumstances.

Overall, OSHA’s noise exposure limits are an important part of protecting workers’ hearing and preventing hearing-related problems in the workplace. By adhering to these guidelines, employers can ensure that their workers are not exposed to excessive noise levels and are protected from the harmful effects of noise exposure.

Enforcing Workplace Noise Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency responsible for setting and enforcing workplace safety and health standards in the United States. In addition to its primary focus on safety, OSHA also regulates workplace noise exposure to protect the hearing of workers.

Under the Occupational Noise Exposure standard, OSHA requires employers to monitor and control noise levels in their workplaces to prevent hearing loss among workers. This standard applies to all industries and covers a wide range of noise sources, including machinery, equipment, and other tools and machinery used in the workplace.

Employers are required to conduct noise measurements to determine the level of noise exposure in their workplaces. If the noise level exceeds OSHA’s permissible exposure limits (PELs), employers must take steps to reduce the noise level or provide hearing protection to their workers.

OSHA’s PELs are based on a time-weighted average (TWA) of the noise exposure over an eight-hour workday. The PELs vary depending on the type of noise source and the industry in which the work is being performed. For example, the PEL for continuous noise is 90 decibels (dB) TWA, while the PEL for intermittent noise is 115 dB TWA.

Employers are also required to provide training and education to their workers on the hazards of noise exposure and the proper use of hearing protection. This training must be provided upon hire and periodically thereafter to ensure that workers are aware of the risks associated with noise exposure and how to protect themselves.

In addition to the Occupational Noise Exposure standard, OSHA has several other standards that address specific types of noise sources, such as powered industrial trucks and construction equipment. These standards provide additional guidance and requirements for employers in these industries to protect their workers from noise exposure.

Overall, OSHA plays a critical role in enforcing workplace noise standards to protect the hearing of workers. By requiring employers to monitor and control noise levels, providing training and education, and setting permissible exposure limits, OSHA helps to ensure that workers are protected from the harmful effects of noise exposure in the workplace.

OSHA’s Recommended Noise Exposure Limits

Key takeaway: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces standards for noise exposure in the workplace to protect workers from hearing loss and other health problems caused by excessive noise exposure. OSHA’s recommended noise exposure limits are based on a time-weighted average (TWA) over an 8-hour workday, and employers are responsible for monitoring and controlling noise levels in their workplaces to ensure that they are in compliance with these limits. Employers must also provide hearing protection devices (HPDs) and training on the proper use and maintenance of HPDs, and must conduct regular audiometric testing to monitor employees’ hearing and ensure that HPDs are effective. Failure to comply with OSHA’s noise exposure limits can result in significant fines and penalties, as well as potential legal action from employees who have been adversely affected by excessive noise exposure.

Time-Weighted Average (TWA)

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the recommended noise exposure limits for workers in the United States are defined by a time-weighted average (TWA) of 90 decibels (dBA) for an 8-hour workday. This means that a worker’s noise exposure over an entire work shift should not exceed 90 dBA, as measured by a noise dosimeter worn by the worker.

OSHA has established this limit based on the findings of numerous studies that have linked prolonged exposure to high levels of noise to hearing loss and other health problems. The TWA limit is intended to provide a margin of safety for workers, taking into account the potential for auditory damage over an extended period of time.

It is important to note that the TWA limit is not a one-time limit, but rather a cumulative limit that takes into account the noise exposure of a worker over the course of an entire workday. This means that even if a worker is exposed to levels of noise below 90 dBA for the entire day, they may still be at risk of hearing damage if they are exposed to louder noises for extended periods of time throughout the day.

In addition to the TWA limit, OSHA also requires employers to provide hearing protection to workers who are exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA for an 8-hour workday, as well as to provide a safe working environment that minimizes noise exposure whenever possible.

Permissible Noise Exposure Limits

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets permissible noise exposure limits for workers in various industries to protect their hearing. These limits are based on the time-weighted average (TWA) of the noise exposure over an eight-hour workday, and they vary depending on the type of noise and the industry.

According to OSHA, the permissible noise exposure limit for a single day of work is 90 decibels (dB) for all workers. This limit is based on the fact that exposure to noise levels above 90 dB can cause hearing damage over time. However, for certain industries such as construction, agriculture, and mining, the permissible noise exposure limit is 97 dB.

It is important to note that OSHA’s permissible noise exposure limits are based on the assumption that employers will take steps to reduce noise exposure whenever possible. This means that if noise exposure is above the permissible limit, employers are required to implement engineering controls, administrative controls, and/or personal protective equipment to reduce noise exposure to below the permissible limit.

Employers are also required to monitor noise levels in their workplaces and provide hearing protection to workers who are exposed to noise levels above the permissible limit. Failure to comply with OSHA’s noise exposure limits can result in fines and penalties for employers.

In summary, OSHA’s permissible noise exposure limits are designed to protect workers from hearing damage caused by excessive noise exposure. Employers are responsible for monitoring noise levels in their workplaces and implementing appropriate controls to ensure that noise exposure remains below the permissible limit.

Recommended Actions for Employers

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, employers are responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. In regards to noise exposure, OSHA has established recommended actions for employers to minimize the risk of hearing loss and other health issues associated with excessive noise exposure.

Some of the recommended actions for employers include:

  • Conducting noise surveys to identify areas of high noise exposure and to determine the appropriate controls needed to reduce noise levels.
  • Implementing engineering controls, such as enclosing or isolating noisy equipment, installing noise barriers, or using quieter equipment.
  • Providing hearing protection devices (HPDs) to employees who are exposed to noise levels above the OSHA action level.
  • Establishing a hearing conservation program (HCP) for employees who are exposed to noise levels at or above the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL).
  • Providing training and education to employees on the effects of noise exposure and the proper use and maintenance of HPDs.
  • Conducting regular audiometric testing to monitor employees’ hearing and to ensure that HPDs are effective in reducing noise exposure.
  • Maintaining and replacing HPDs as needed to ensure that they remain effective.

By following these recommended actions, employers can help to reduce the risk of hearing loss and other health issues associated with excessive noise exposure, and ensure a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.

Exemptions and Special Cases

Under certain circumstances, OSHA allows for exemptions and special cases when it comes to the recommended noise exposure limits. These exemptions and special cases are based on specific factors that may affect the determination of whether or not a particular workplace or activity is in compliance with OSHA’s noise exposure limits.

One example of an exemption is for construction work. In this case, OSHA recognizes that it may be difficult to implement certain noise control measures in construction zones due to the nature of the work. As a result, OSHA has established a different set of guidelines for construction sites that take into account the unique challenges and risks associated with this type of work.

Another example of a special case is for music and entertainment venues. In these types of venues, OSHA recognizes that exposure to high levels of noise is a necessary part of the job. However, OSHA still requires that employers take steps to protect the hearing of workers in these industries, such as providing hearing protection devices and implementing noise reduction measures when possible.

In addition to these examples, there may be other special cases or exemptions that apply depending on the specific workplace or activity. It is important for employers to understand these exemptions and special cases and to ensure that they are in compliance with OSHA’s noise exposure limits, even if they fall under one of these special cases. Failure to comply with OSHA’s noise exposure limits can result in significant fines and penalties, as well as potential legal liability for hearing loss or other injuries suffered by workers.

Monitoring and Recordkeeping Requirements

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers are required to monitor and record employee noise exposure levels to ensure that they are in compliance with the recommended noise exposure limits. These limits are set to protect workers from the potential health effects of excessive noise exposure, such as hearing loss and other forms of auditory damage.

The specific monitoring and recordkeeping requirements for noise exposure vary depending on the industry and the type of work being performed. However, in general, employers are required to:

  • Monitor noise levels in the workplace using a noise dosimeter or other appropriate equipment.
  • Provide hearing protection devices (HPDs) to employees who are exposed to noise levels above the recommended limits.
  • Keep records of employee noise exposure levels, including the type of HPDs used, for a period of at least two years.
  • Provide employees with access to the records and allow them to review them upon request.

Employers must also provide training to employees on the potential health effects of noise exposure, the proper use and maintenance of HPDs, and the correct procedures for monitoring and recording noise exposure levels. This training should be provided upon hire and on an ongoing basis as needed.

It is important for employers to comply with these monitoring and recordkeeping requirements to ensure that they are providing a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Failure to do so can result in OSHA citations and fines, as well as potential legal action from employees who have been adversely affected by excessive noise exposure.

Understanding the Consequences of Excessive Noise Exposure

Short-Term Effects

Excessive noise exposure can have significant short-term effects on an individual’s health and well-being. Some of the most common short-term effects of excessive noise exposure include:

  • Hearing loss: Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. This can lead to difficulty in understanding speech, especially in noisy environments.
  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears. It is often a result of exposure to loud noise and can be bothersome and debilitating.
  • Hearing impairment: Prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to a reduction in the ability to hear certain frequencies.
  • Physical effects: Excessive noise exposure can also cause physical effects such as increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and muscle tension. These effects can lead to fatigue, headaches, and other health problems.

It is important to note that these short-term effects can occur even with brief exposure to high levels of noise. Therefore, it is essential to take appropriate measures to protect oneself from excessive noise exposure in the workplace and other environments.

Long-Term Effects

Prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels can have significant negative impacts on the human body, leading to long-term health consequences. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established guidelines to protect workers from these detrimental effects. Some of the most common long-term effects of excessive noise exposure include:

  • Hearing Loss: Repeated exposure to loud noises can cause permanent damage to the inner ear, leading to hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is known as noise-induced hearing loss, and it can occur gradually over time, even at levels below the OSHA-recommended limit.
  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears. It is often caused by exposure to loud noises and can be a symptom of noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Excessive noise exposure has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. This is believed to be due to the constant stress that noise exposure places on the body.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Loud noises can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation and other sleep-related problems. This can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being.
  • Communication Difficulties: Excessive noise exposure can make it difficult for individuals to communicate effectively, leading to frustration and isolation. This can be particularly problematic in work environments where clear communication is essential.

It is important to note that the long-term effects of excessive noise exposure can be cumulative, meaning that even small amounts of noise over a long period of time can have a significant impact on health. Therefore, it is crucial to take steps to reduce noise levels and protect workers from these potential health risks.

Legal Responsibilities for Employers

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are legally responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. This includes protecting workers from the adverse effects of excessive noise exposure.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers must implement hearing conservation programs when employee noise exposure exceeds 85 decibels (dBA) for 8 hours or more per day. The hearing conservation program must include:

  • Noise monitoring to determine the level of employee exposure
  • Provision of hearing protection devices (HPDs) such as earplugs or earmuffs
  • Training on the proper use and maintenance of HPDs
  • Frequent monitoring of HPDs to ensure they are effective
  • Annual audiograms for employees with noise exposure above 85 dBA
  • A written hearing conservation program that outlines the above requirements

In addition to the above requirements, OSHA also has specific regulations for specific industries such as construction, maritime, and agriculture. Employers in these industries must comply with additional regulations to protect their workers from excessive noise exposure.

It is important for employers to take these legal responsibilities seriously as excessive noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and other health problems. Hearing loss can also affect an employee’s ability to communicate effectively, leading to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

In conclusion, employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees from the adverse effects of excessive noise exposure. Failure to comply with OSHA regulations can result in penalties, fines, and even legal action. It is essential for employers to implement hearing conservation programs and ensure that their employees are adequately protected from excessive noise exposure.

Preventing Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Engineering Controls

One of the primary ways to prevent hearing loss in the workplace is through the implementation of engineering controls. These are modifications made to the physical environment or equipment to reduce the level of noise exposure. Here are some examples of engineering controls that can be used to prevent hearing loss:

  • Enclosing noise-producing equipment: Equipment that produces high levels of noise, such as machinery or power tools, can be enclosed with soundproof materials to reduce the noise level outside the equipment.
  • Installing soundproofing materials: Soundproofing materials, such as acoustic tiles or panels, can be installed on walls and ceilings to absorb or reflect noise and reduce its transmission to other areas of the workplace.
  • Implementing noise-reducing technologies: Noise-reducing technologies, such as silencers or vibration isolation systems, can be added to equipment to reduce the level of noise they produce.
  • Using noise barriers: Noise barriers, such as walls or screens, can be used to block or absorb noise in areas where noise levels are particularly high.
  • Improving ventilation systems: Improving ventilation systems can help reduce the level of noise by reducing the need for noisy equipment or by reducing the amount of noise that is reflected off surfaces.

These are just a few examples of engineering controls that can be used to prevent hearing loss in the workplace. The specific controls that are most effective will depend on the type of workplace and the types of noise sources present.

Administrative Controls

In order to prevent hearing loss in the workplace, OSHA recommends the implementation of administrative controls. These controls focus on modifying the workplace environment and the way in which work is performed, rather than the use of personal protective equipment. Some examples of administrative controls include:

  • Implementing a hearing conservation program (HCP) that includes noise exposure monitoring, hearing testing, and the provision of hearing protection devices (HPDs)
  • Limiting the amount of time an employee is exposed to noise above the recommended level
  • Rotating employees to reduce their overall noise exposure
  • Providing incentives for employees to use quieter equipment or practices
  • Providing training on noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the proper use of HPDs
  • Establishing a policy that requires employees to report any hearing problems to their supervisor
  • Providing hearing tests for employees at regular intervals
  • Implementing engineering controls such as soundproofing walls, doors, and windows.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Protecting your hearing is essential in any workplace where noise levels exceed the recommended OSHA standards. One of the most effective ways to protect your hearing is by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE is any equipment worn to minimize risk to workers’ health and safety.

OSHA requires employers to provide PPE to their employees when engineering and administrative controls are not enough to reduce noise exposure to safe levels. Employers must also ensure that the PPE is properly maintained, cleaned, and stored to ensure its effectiveness.

The most common types of PPE used to protect against noise-induced hearing loss are earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small, disposable devices that fit into the ear canal and reduce the intensity of sound that enters the ear. Earmuffs, on the other hand, are larger and cover the outer ear, providing more comprehensive protection against noise.

It is important to note that PPE alone is not enough to protect workers’ hearing. Employers must also provide training on the proper use and care of PPE, as well as conduct hearing tests to monitor workers’ hearing health. Workers must also be provided with information on the risks associated with noise exposure and the importance of wearing PPE.

In summary, personal protective equipment is a crucial component of hearing loss prevention in the workplace. Employers must provide PPE to their employees and ensure that it is used correctly to protect workers’ hearing health.

Employee Training and Education

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) emphasizes the importance of employee training and education in preventing hearing loss in the workplace. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Regular Training: Employers should provide regular training sessions to their employees on the risks associated with noise exposure and the proper use of hearing protection devices. This training should be conducted annually or whenever there is a significant change in the workplace that may affect noise levels.
  • New Employee Orientation: New employees should receive orientation on the hazards of noise exposure and the hearing conservation program as part of their initial training. This ensures that they understand the importance of hearing protection and the procedures in place to minimize noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Supervisor Training: Supervisors should also receive training on the hazards of noise exposure and the hearing conservation program. This helps them understand their role in ensuring that employees are using hearing protection devices correctly and that they are aware of the risks associated with excessive noise exposure.
  • Audiometric Testing: Audiometric testing is a critical component of the hearing conservation program. Employers should ensure that all employees undergo periodic audiometric testing to detect any signs of hearing loss. This testing should be conducted by a qualified professional and the results should be kept confidential.
  • Education on Hearing Protection Devices: Employees should be educated on the proper use and care of hearing protection devices. This includes how to select the appropriate device for their job, how to properly insert and wear the device, and how to clean and maintain it. Employers should also provide training on how to recognize and report any issues with the device.

Overall, employee training and education are essential components of a successful hearing conservation program. By providing regular training sessions, new employee orientation, supervisor training, audiometric testing, and education on hearing protection devices, employers can ensure that their employees are well-informed and equipped to protect their hearing in the workplace.

Seeking Assistance and Reporting Violations

OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is committed to ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for all employees. In line with this commitment, OSHA has established the Whistleblower Protection Program to protect employees who report violations of safety and health regulations, including those related to noise exposure.

Under this program, employees are protected from retaliation for reporting violations of safety and health regulations, including those related to noise exposure. This means that employers are prohibited from taking any adverse action against an employee who reports a violation, such as termination, demotion, or discrimination.

To file a complaint under the Whistleblower Protection Program, employees can contact OSHA’s regional offices or file a complaint online. OSHA will then investigate the complaint and take appropriate action if a violation is found.

It is important for employees to note that they have the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and that reporting violations is an important step in ensuring that these rights are protected. By reporting violations, employees can help to prevent injuries and illnesses, and promote a culture of safety and health in the workplace.

Filing a Complaint or Reporting a Violation

If an employee is subjected to noise levels that exceed the OSHA standards, they have the right to file a complaint or report the violation. This can be done by following these steps:

  1. Contact OSHA: Employees can contact OSHA directly to report a violation or file a complaint. This can be done by calling the OSHA hotline or submitting an online complaint form.
  2. Contact the union or workers’ representative: If the employee is a member of a union or has a workers’ representative, they can contact them for assistance in filing a complaint or reporting a violation.
  3. File a lawsuit: If an employee has been injured as a result of excessive noise exposure, they may be able to file a lawsuit against their employer. This should be done with the help of a lawyer who specializes in workplace injury claims.

It is important for employees to understand their rights and take action if they believe they are being exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace. By reporting violations, employees can help ensure that their employers take the necessary steps to protect their hearing and comply with OSHA standards.

Resources for Workers and Employers

If you are a worker who is exposed to excessive noise levels in the workplace, there are several resources available to you. It is important to remember that OSHA requires employers to provide hearing protection to workers who are exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels, and to provide training on the proper use and maintenance of hearing protection. If you believe that your employer is not providing adequate protection, or if you have concerns about your own hearing health, there are several steps you can take.

One option is to speak with your supervisor or safety officer. They may be able to provide you with additional information about the noise levels in your workplace, and can help you understand what steps you can take to protect your hearing. Additionally, many workplaces have employee assistance programs (EAPs) that can provide confidential support and resources for workers who are dealing with health or safety concerns.

If you are unable to address your concerns with your employer, or if you feel that your safety is at risk, you may wish to file a complaint with OSHA. OSHA has a hotline that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for workers to report unsafe conditions or violations of workplace safety and health regulations. You can also file a complaint online or by mail.

Employers also have a responsibility to protect their workers from excessive noise levels. In addition to providing hearing protection and training, employers should also conduct regular noise assessments to identify areas of concern and implement appropriate controls to reduce noise exposure. OSHA provides resources and guidance for employers on its website, including a Noise Control Toolkit that provides information on how to identify and control noise hazards in the workplace.

It is important for both workers and employers to take noise exposure seriously, as excessive noise levels can have serious consequences for hearing health. By working together to identify and control noise hazards, we can ensure that all workers have a safe and healthy work environment.

FAQs

1. What is the OSHA recommended noise level?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that employers take steps to reduce employee exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (dBA) for eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. OSHA also recommends that employers provide hearing protection to employees who are exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA for an eight-hour day or 40 hours a week.

2. What is considered a safe noise level according to OSHA?

According to OSHA, a safe noise level is any noise level that does not exceed the recommended exposure limit of 85 dBA for eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. OSHA also recommends that employers take steps to reduce noise levels as much as possible to prevent hearing loss and other health problems associated with excessive noise exposure.

3. What types of hearing protection does OSHA recommend for employees exposed to high noise levels?

OSHA recommends that employers provide hearing protection to employees who are exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA for an eight-hour day or 40 hours a week. This can include earplugs, earmuffs, or other types of hearing protection devices. Employers should also ensure that the hearing protection is properly fitted and maintained, and that employees are trained on how to use and care for the hearing protection.

4. What should I do if I am concerned about excessive noise levels in my workplace?

If you are concerned about excessive noise levels in your workplace, you should speak with your employer or supervisor. Your employer is responsible for ensuring that the workplace is in compliance with OSHA’s noise exposure limits and that employees are provided with appropriate hearing protection. If you feel that your employer is not taking appropriate steps to address excessive noise levels, you may want to file a complaint with OSHA or seek legal advice.

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