How to Prevent Occupational Noise Exposure on Your Construction Site
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work every year. Noise is one of the most common and ever-present hazards on a construction site. Employers who fail to protect their workers from construction noise exposure can face exorbitant fines. That’s why we’re here to discuss how you can prevent occupational noise exposure on your jobsite. This article is for educational purposes only, so consult one of our Florida OSHA defense attorneys if you have any questions or concerns.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that noise exposure be below 85 decibels (dB) averaged over eight working hours. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the legal limits for work exposure in the workplace. They set the limit at 90 dB averaged over eight working hours. The higher a noise level, the lower a worker’s exposure time should be. For example, OSHA requires that workers only be exposed to 90 dB averaged over two working hours. Consult one of our lawyers for further information on acceptable exposure levels.
Hearing Conservation Program
In order to protect workers, OSHA requires employers — all employers, not just construction companies — to implement a hearing conservation program when noise levels are at or above 85 dB averaged over eight working hours. These programs are designed to not only prevent hearing loss but also preserve hearing. You can establish a hearing conservation program by implementing a monitoring method that accurately identifies employee exposure. You must also maintain an audiometric testing program to monitor employee hearing levels over time. Most importantly, you must provide hearing protection to workers who are either exposed to noise levels at or above 85 dB or experiencing hearing loss or what is known as a standard threshold shift. Finally, you must maintain noise exposure measurement records for two years and your employees’ audiometric testing records for as long as they are employed with your company.
Your Responsibilities as an Employer
It is your responsibility to maintain a safe workplace free from hazards, including noise exposure. OSHA can and will issue fines if it finds that construction employers have failed to implement the proper testing and safety procedures to protect their workers from noise exposure. This article only scratches the surface of how to properly implement a hearing conservation program. For comprehensive legal guidance, consult an OSHA attorney with our law firm. Our team can not only help prevent hearing loss on your jobsite but also defend you in the event that OSHA issues a citation.
If you would like to speak with one of our Florida OSHA defense lawyers, please contact us today.