OSHA to begin new focus on hazardous noise levels

Region V OSHA, which includes Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, issued a press release announcing a Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for Exposure to Noise Hazards in the Workplace. The goal of the REP is to encourage employers to take steps to identify, reduce, and eliminate hazards associated with exposure to high levels of noise. The enforcement directive was issued on June 01, 2021. Prior to the initiation of enforcement, a three-month period of education and compliance assistance to the public will be conducted to support the efforts of the Agency in meeting the goals of the REP. Enforcement related to this REP will begin on September 01, 2021.

By law, OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program when the average noise exposure over eight working hours reaches or exceeds 85 decibels, which the Centers for Disease Control compares to the sound of city traffic (from inside the vehicle) or a gas-powered leaf blower.

Nearly one in 10 people endure noise levels at work loud enough to cause hearing loss while seven in 10 experiences moderately loud noise levels, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, the bureau’s Occupational Requirements Survey, published in 2019, found that more than half of the nation’s manufacturing workers reported not using personal protective equipment to protect their hearing.

For a complete list of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes covered by this REP, go to OSHA2021994NOISEREP.pdf (dol.gov). If you do not know your NAICS code you can search MANTA and list your business name as well as city and state.

For questions or additional information, please contact Jim Wirth at chamber partner Sedgwick at 614.546.7331 or jim.wirth@sedgwick.com.