What monitoring is required?
The hearing conservation program requires employers to monitor noise exposure levels in a way that accurately identifies employees exposed to noise at or above 85 decibels (dB) averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). Employers must monitor all employees whose noise exposure is equivalent to or greater than a noise exposure received in 8 hours where the noise level is constantly 85 dB. The exposure measurement must include all continuous, intermittent, and impulsive noise within an 80 dB to 130 dB range and must be taken during a typical work situation. This requirement is performance-oriented because it allows employers to choose the monitoring method that best suits each individual situation.
Employers must repeat monitoring whenever changes in production, process, or controls increase noise exposure. These changes may mean that more employees need to be included in the program or that the hearing protectors may no longer provide adequate protection.
Employees are entitled to observe monitoring procedures and must receive notification of the results of exposure monitoring. The method used to notify employees is left to the employer’s discretion.
Employers must carefully check or calibrate instruments used for monitoring employee exposures to ensure that the measurements are accurate. Calibration procedures are unique to specific instruments. Employers should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine when and how extensively to calibrate the instrument.
The annual Hearing Conservation training program consists of the OSHA requirement 1910.95.
This informational booklet provides a generic, non-exhaustive overview of a particular topic related to OSHA standards.