Tennessee OSHA Places Special Emphasis on Noise Protection

Friday, April 24, 2009 | 11:08 am

Noise Above 85 dBA May Cause Damage to Employees if Not Protected

NASHVILLE — Tennessee OSHA has instituted a Special Emphasis Program for occupational noise exposure and hearing conservation. This program has been established to focus statewide attention on occupational noise and to prevent occupational hearing loss in employees. Each day, thousands of workers are exposed on the job to excessive noise levels capable of causing permanent hearing loss.
“This special emphasis program has been put in place to help spread awareness to employers about the precautions they need to take to make sure their employees are not being exposed to noise that could injure them,” said TOSHA Consultation Program Manager Jim Cothron. 
TOSHA standards, for occupational noise exposure require a Hearing Conservation Program when noise exposures meet or exceed 85 dBA averaged over eight hours. Excessive noise can destroy the ability to hear and may also put stress on other parts of the body, including the heart. Workers exposed to noise sometimes complain of nervousness, sleeplessness, and fatigue. For most effects of noise, there is no cure, so prevention of excessive noise exposure and promoting hearing conservation is critical.
It is important for employers with employees who may be exposed to loud, consistent noise to develop and implement a hearing conservation program. For an effective program employers must perform the following: conduct mandatory annual hearing tests, make hearing protectors available and mandatory if working around noise above 90 dB, conduct annual training on the effects of noise and keep accurate records of audiograms and review them to ensure that your program is effective.
For more information on noise protection and workplace safety please call TOSHA Consultative Services at 800-249-8510. It’s free and confidential!
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