Hearing Conservation Program
Excessive noise levels may permanently or temporarily damage a person's hearing. Whenever possible, employees should reduce noise levels to an acceptable level. The following table outlines OSHA limits for acceptable noise exposure indicated as decibels (dB).
|Duration/Day (Hours)||Sound Level (dB)|
|¼ or less||115|
Hearing loss can be permanent — wear protective equipment when noise levels are high.
Before using personal protective equipment, such as ear plugs or muffs, to reduce noise exposure, try to reduce noise levels by changing work procedures. Maintenance practices such as the following can reduce noise levels:
- Replacing worn or loose machine parts
- Performing high-noise operations during hours when people are less likely to be affected
- Maintaining and lubricating equipment to eliminate rattles and squeaks
The following table illustrates various noise levels:
|Quiet Office||30 dB|
|Street Sounds||70 dB|
|Pneumatic Drill||100 dB|
|Artillery/Car Horn||120 dB|
Engineering controls, such as the following, can also reduce noise levels:
- Enclosing noisy conveyors
Areas that may require hearing protection include machine shops, the power plant, etc. Observe all warning signs and wear hearing protection whenever necessary. Do not interfere with, remove, or modify noise abatement equipment. Keep all equipment properly maintained, and report any malfunctions immediately. Contact your Safety and Health Management Office if you have any questions or concerns about the noise level in your workspace. Appropriate noise level survey and hearing tests may be required.