Hearing Conservation Program

  1. PURPOSE

    A Hearing Conservation Program is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for all workers whose noise exposures equal or exceed an action level of 85 decibels for an eight-hour day or a noise dose of 50 percent. This Hearing Conservation Program has been developed in accordance with OSHA regulations (29 CFR 1910.95 Subpart C – Hearing Conservation Program) and is adopted by this company.

  2. GENERAL PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
    1. Responsibility

      It is the responsibility of the management to protect their employees. The management shall:

      1. Monitor noise exposure.
      2. Institute control measures.
      3. Implement a hearing conservation program when occupational noise exposure exceeds an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 decibels.

      Employees who do not comply with the provisions of this program shall be disciplined in accordance with our company policy of progressive discipline.

    2. Program Review and Update
    3. The Hearing Conservation Program shall be reevaluated under these circumstances:

      1. Annually, when the annual audiogram testing is done.
      2. Whenever there is a change in production, process, equipment or controls that might have questionable noise levels.
  3. METHODS OF COMPLIANCE
    1. Monitoring
      • A noise survey will be conducted to identify the areas where employee noise exposure may exceed an 85 decibel eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA).
      • Workers will be monitored in questionable areas with a calibrated audio dosimeter that will measure all continuous, intermittent, and impulsive soundlevels between 80-130 decibels on the "A- weighted' scale (slow response).
      • Each employee will be notified of the monitoring results if exposed at or above the 85 decibel TWA.
      • Additional monitoring will be conducted if changes in production, equipment, processes or controls suggest that noise exposures may have increased.
  4. Audiometric Testing
    1. A baseline audiogram (hearing test) will be obtained for all employees with noise exposures equal to or greater than an 85 decibel TWA. Baseline Audiogram will be obtained within six months of the employee's first exposure to noise above the action level. In the case that a mobile van is used for testing, the audiogram will be obtained within one year. However, employees must use hearing protection six months after their first exposure until a baseline audiogram is obtained.
    2. Both pre-employment and termination audiogram will be obtained for all employees.
    3. Workers will be informed that baseline audiometric testing must be preceded by at least 14 hours without exposure to noise levels above 80 decibels. Workers may use hearing protection to meet this requirement. (See Appendix C)
    4. Annual audiograms are required for all workers with noise exposures equal or greater than an 85 decibel TWA.
    5. Audiometric tests will be preformed by a licensed or certified audiologist, otolaryngologist, qualified physician or qualified technician responsible to the audiologist or physician.
    6. If a comparison of the annual audiogram with the baseline audiogram indicates that a Standard Threshold Shift* has occurred, a retest within 30 days may be conducted and the second test may be considered the annual audiogram.
    7. If a Standard Threshold Shift* is confirmed, the employee will be:
      1. Informed of this fact, in writing, within 21 days of the determination. (Appendix D)
      2. Referred to an audiologist, otolaryngologist or qualified physician for further evaluation. They will be provided both the baseline and the most recent audiogram of the employee, and the required records on the audiometer and the audiometric test room.
    8. Unless the audiologist or physician determines that the Standard Threshold Shift is not work related OR aggravated by noise exposures in the work place, the worker will be required to use suitable hearing protection. For workers exposed to noise levels less than 90 decibel TWA, the use of hearing protection will continue until subsequent audiometric testing indicates that the Standard Threshold Shift is not permanent.
    9. An Annual audiogram may be substituted for the baseline audiogram when the audiologist or physician evaluating your program declares:
      1. A Standard Threshold Shift is persistent; or
      2. The hearing threshold in the annual audiogram indicates a significant improvement over the baseline audiogram.
    10. All audiometric testing and evaluation will be provided free of charge to our employees.
    11. The requirements for the types and calibration of audiometers, and the background noise levels allowed in audiometric test rooms are specifies in Appendices C,D, and E of the OSHA Noise Standard (29 CFR 1910.95). The records of the firm we plan to use for audiometric testing should be checked to confirm that they are complying with OSHA standards.

    * A Standard Threshold Shift is defined as an average hearing Shift in either ear of 10 decibels or more at the test frequencies of 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 Hertz.

  5. Hearing Protectors
    1. Hearing protectors will be (1) required and (2) provided for all employees with noise exposure:
      1. Greater than a 90 decibel TWA; or
      2. Equal to or greater than an 85 decibel TWA and who have experienced a Standard Threshold Shift; or
      3. Equal to or greater than an 85 decibel TWA for six months or more AND who have not obtained a baseline audiogram.
    2. Hearing protectors will be available for use to all employees with noise exposures between an 85 and 90 decibel TWA who have not experienced a Standard Threshold Shift.
    3. Hearing protectors will be provided free to employees and a variety of suitable types will be available for their selection.
    4. Hearing protectors will be evaluated for their ability to adequately reduce the noise exposures in the work place to a 90 decibel TWA or less (or an 85 decibel TWA for those workers who have experienced a Standard Threshold Shift).

    NOTE: One method for evaluating hearing protectors is to refer to the noise Reduction Rating (NRR) listed on the hearing protector package. Subtract seven from the NRR and divide the results by two. This number is the noise attenuation for this type of hearing protection and should be subtracted from the employee's noise exposure to determine his/her reduced noise exposure.

    Other methods for determining noise reduction factors are specified in Appendix B of the OSHA Noise Standard (29 CFR 1910.95).

  6. Training
  7. Annual training programs will be required for workers included in the Hearing Conservation Program which covers the following topics:

    1. The effects of noise on hearing.
    2. The purpose of hearing protectors.
    3. The advantages, disadvantages, and noise-reduction capabilities of the various types of hearing protectors.
    4. Instructions on the selection, fitting, use, and care of hearing protectors.
    5. The purpose of audiometric testing and an explanation of the test procedures.
  8. Recordkeeping
  9. The following records will be maintained in the office, and are available upon request, to our employees or an OSHA representative:

    1. Noise-exposure records will be retained for at least two years.
    2. ALL audiometric test records will be retained for the duration of each worker's employment and will include:
    1. Audiogram with the name and job classification of the worker, date of the audiogram, and the examiner's name.
    2. Measurements of the noise levels in the audiometric test booth and the date of the last acoustic or exhaustive calibration of the audiometer.
    3. Employee's most recent noise-exposure measurement.

NOTE: You are required to post a copy of the OSHA Noise Standard (29 CFR 1910.95) in your work place if you have noise levels exceeding 85 decibels. Your safety supplier should have posters available.

NOTE: A Standard Threshold Shift of 10 decibels or greater must be recorded on the OSHA 300 log if caused or aggravated by exposure to occupational noise.

Appendix A
HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Training Session Attendance

In accordance with 29 CFR 1910.95, all employees must receive training annually on occupational noise exposure. This training session also will include any changes or updates which have occurred since the last training session.

Training session was conducted by: _____________________________________
Date of training session: _______________________________

Employee Name

Work Area

Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix B
HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Training Receipt

A training receipt must be signed by each employee upon completion of the Hearing Conservation Program. The employee and the trainer are to complete, sign, and date this training receipt. The training receipt is to be maintained permanently in the Hearing Conservation file

I _______________________________________, hereby certify that I have received training on the Hearing Conservation Program as required by this company and OSHA.

Employee Signature

Date

 

 

Trainer Signature

Date

 

 

Appendix C
HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM

Employee

Social Security Number

 

 

In compliance with 29 CFR 1910.95, you will be receiving an audiometric examination on ________________(Date). To ensure the accuracy of this test, and to comply with OSHA standards, the following guidelines are to be observed.

  1. Testing shall be preceded by at least 14 hours without exposure to workplace noise. (Hearing protectors may be used as a substitute for this requirement.)
  2. It also is recommended that you avoid high levels of non-occupational noise exposure during the 14 hours proceeding this examination.

Your cooperation on these following guidelines will be appreciated.

Employee Signature

Date

 

 

Appendix D
HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Standard Threshold Shift Letter to Employee

To (insert employee’s name here)
We, (insert company president or owner’s name here), company president/owner (insert plant manager’s name here), plant manager, and (insert supervisor’s name here) your supervisor regrets to inform you that your audiogram on (insert date of audiogram here) indicates that you have suffered a standard threshold shift. This means that your ability to hear appears to have diminished since your baseline audiogram, which was performed (insert date of baseline audiogram here). Therefore, we are referring you to an audiologist, otolaryngologist or qualified physician for further evaluation. Unless the audiologist or physician determines that the standard threshold shift is not work-related or aggravated by noise exposures in the workplace, you will be required to use suitable hearing protection. (For workers exposed to noise levels less than 90 decibels TWA, the use of hearing protection will continue until subsequent audiometric testing indicates that the standard threshold shift is not permanent.) (For employees exposed to noise levels greater than 90 decibles TWA hearing protection will continue to be required.)
We want to stress that we are committed to having a safe and healthful working environment. We will continue to try to reduce the amount of noise in your work area and we will continue to provide you with the proper types of hearing protection.
If you have any questions about this matter please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Sincerely,

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Company President/Owner

Plant Manager

Supervisor