Workers exposed to excessive noise must
use appropriate PPE including ear plugs, muffs, or both when
engineering or administrative
controls are not feasible to reduce exposure.
Figure 1: Workers with appropriate hearing protection.
Hierarchy of Controls
- Engineering Controls
- Administration Controls
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Hearing protection is part of a hearing conservation program,
which is required when noise exposure exceeds the action level [85
decibels on the A scale (dBA)].
|Selection and Use of Hearing Protection
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Figure 2: Grinder with ear muffs.
Figure 3: Ear plugs.
Figure 4: Ear muffs.
Some operations in the shipyard produce excessive
noise, which may lead to hearing loss. Some of the loudest ship
Requirements and Example Solutions:
- Abrasive blasting (105-112 dBA)
- Needle gunning (113 dBA)
- Grinding (108-110 dBA)
- Carbon Arcing/Arc gouging (102-118 dBA)
- Pneumatic pumps (100 dBA)
- High-pressure steam cleaning
- Ventilation equipment
- Develop and implement an effective Hearing
Conservation Program when action level is exceeded. [29 CFR 1910.95(c)]
- Follow hearing protection requirements. [29 CFR 1910.95(a)]
- Hearing protectors are required when noise levels exceed the
OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dBA measured as a
time-weighted average (TWA). [29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1)]
- Hearing protectors must reduce noise to acceptable levels
which may require dual use of ear plugs and muffs.[29 CFR 1910.95(j)]
- Review the Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) for the specific
hearing protection devices. [29 CFR 1910.95
Appendix B: Methods for estimating the
adequacy of hearing protector attenuation]
- Note: 5 dB can be added to the NRR of the most protective
device when using both ear plugs and muffs.
|Hearing Conservation Program
When the worker's noise exposure equals or exceeds an
8-hour time-weighted average of 85
decibels on the A scale (dBA), the employer shall develop and implement a
hearing conservation program. [29 CFR 1910.95(c)]
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hearing conservation program consists of the following elements:
- Monitoring noise levels
- Audiometric testing (hearing test)
- Hearing protection