4 Ways to Get Fined for Noise Hazards
Every worker has the right to a safe workplace. Each worker also has the right to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if they subject to an unsafe workplace. A noise hazard complaint led one Ohio facility to pay over $45,000 in fines. During an inspection, OSHA found that employees were untrained in noise hazards, and exposed to excessive noise.
4 Reasons for the Fine:
- Failure to protect workers from noise hazards.
- Failure to adequately train workers on noise hazards and conservation.
- Failure to provide baseline and annual audiograms.
- Failure to implement a noise hearing conservation safety program.
OSHA states that “the employer shall administer a continuing, effective hearing conservation program whenever employee noise exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average sound level (TWA) of 85 decibels.” (OSHA.gov) TIP: If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone, you are in an area where the noise level is at or above 85 decibels, and you should be wearing hearing protection.
What steps can you take to limit noise exposure to workers? Consider these engineering controls:
- Periodically rotate workers in areas that are quieter, less noisy.
- Add or replace mufflers on motorized or pneumatic equipment.
- Ensure equipment is properly maintained. Keep bearings and other moving parts lubricated.
- Isolate loud equipment such as compressors and generators away from work areas.
- Replace older, noisier equipment with newer, quieter models.
- Install sound absorbing materials on walls and ceilings.
If engineering controls aren’t enough, make sure to provide hearing protection for all workers exposed to high levels of noise. Commonly used personal protective equipment includes foam plugs, reusable plugs, canal plugs and ear muffs. Also make sure that an audiometric testing program in conjunction with the noise hearing conservation program is being followed by supervisors, management and employees.
If you think your employees are being exposed to noise hazards, contact SRP Safety Consultants. SRP can monitor exposure and help you implement a noise conservation program. Call us at (318) 222-2364 or email us. We have seven convenient locations in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh. Located elsewhere? Let SRP come to you.