To provide information and guidelines to supervisory personnel who oversee work tasks and environments where sound levels exceed a time-weighted decibel rating of 85 during the course of a normal work day. These guidelines are to be implemented to protect employees from potentially harmful effects of exposure to excessive noise.
All workers who are subjected to a noise level of 85 dBA (action level) or above are to be included in a Hearing Conservation Program.
All workplaces suspected of having noise levels that may exceed the action level are to be monitored by the Environmental Health & Safety Office (EH&S) to identify employees who receive daily noise doses at or above the action level.
1. Noise levels must be remeasured whenever any change relating to noise production is suspected of increasing exposures to the extent that additional employees may receive at or above the action level, or the attenuation provided by the selected hearing protection is rendered inadequate.
2. Noise levels must also be remeasured to determine the effectiveness of any engineering controls that are installed.
3. Monitoring may be accomplished by an area survey technique in which sound level meter readings are combined with estimates of the length of exposure of individuals to particular sound levels in order to calculate an eight (8) hour Time Weighted Average (TWA), or may be measured by personal sampling method by the use of noise dosimeters.
B. Hearing Protection
Hearing protection must be made available to all workers exposed at or above the action level. The use of hearing protection is mandatory for those exposed at or above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), and for those exposed at or above the action level.
1. Hearing protection must reduce exposure to 90 dBA, or to 85 dBA.
2. The employee's department must provide a variety of suitable hearing protectors from which employees may choose. This requires the availability of at least one type of plug and one type of muff.
3. These devices are to be supplied to employees at no cost, and replaced as necessary. The university is not expected to pay for an unlimited supply of protectors or to replace devices that are lost or damaged due to employee negligence.
Employees exposed at or above the action level must be trained at least annually regarding:
the effects of noise
the purpose, advantages, disadvantages, and attenuation of hearing protection being offered
the selection, fitting, and care of protectors, and
Noise exposure records must be retained for two years, but data older than two years should not be discarded unless remonitoring has been performed.
E. Noise Reduction
The reduction or elimination of noise producing sources and/or employee exposure should be sought through administrative (e.g., modified work schedule) and/or engineering controls.
1. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety will be responsible for the coordination of the overall program, with specific responsibility for:
a. Assessing the need for hearing protection and identifying those employees who should be included in the Hearing Protection Program though monitoring.
b. Selection of the types of hearing protection to be provided to Slippery Rock University employees.
c. Providing initial training for care, use, and maintenance of hearing protection.
d. Conducting periodic inspections and evaluation to determine the continued effectiveness of the program.
e. Maintain copies of all records relating to workplace monitoring and testing.
2. Departmental Responsibilities - Actual implementation of the program is the responsibility of the individual department in which exposed employees work.
These responsibilities include:
a. Coordination of employee training schedules with the Environmental Health & Safety Office.
b. Enforcement of the proper care and usage of assigned hearing protection.
3. Employee Responsibility - To use the hearing protection provided in accordance with the instructions and training received.