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Standards

State Standards

Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans, which are required to be at least as effective as Federal OSHA, but may adopt their own standards and enforcement policies. However, most have adopted standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. Other federal standards related to agricultural operations are included for reference.

Noise and hearing conservation is addressed in specific standards for recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction employment. This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers) for General Industry and Maritime employment.

OSHA

Recording and reporting occupational injuries and illness (29 CFR 1904) [related topic page]

  • 1904.10, Recording criteria for cases involving occupational hearing loss

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

  • 1910.95, Occupational noise exposure
    • Appendix A, Noise exposure computation
    • Appendix B, Methods for estimating the adequacy of hearing protector attenuation
    • Appendix C, Audiometric measuring instruments
    • Appendix D, Audiometric test rooms
    • Appendix E, Acoustic calibration of audiometers
    • Appendix F, Calculations and application of age corrections to audiograms
    • Appendix G, Monitoring noise levels non-mandatory informational appendix
    • Appendix H, Availability of referenced documents
    • Appendix I, Definitions
  • Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to "furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees". This section may be used to address hazards for which there are no specific standards, eg. noise in agricultural operations.

OSHA Federal Registers

OSHA Directives; Instructions to OSHA staff

OSHA Enforcement Standard Interpretations

Other Federal Agency's Standards and Guidance

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

  • 49 CFR 227, Occupational Noise Exposure for Railroad Operating Employees. Requires railroads to conduct noise monitoring and implement a hearing conservation program for employees whose exposure to cab noise equals or exceeds an 8-hour TWA of 85 dBA. This final rule became effective February 26, 2007.
  • 49 CFR 229, Railroad Locomotive Safety Standards

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

  • Occupational Noise Exposure. Publication No. 98-126, (1998, June). Includes revisions to previous 1972 recommendations that go beyond attempting to conserve hearing by focusing on preventing occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

US Coast Guard

US Department of Defense (DoD)

  • DoD Hearing Conservation Program (PDF). Instruction No. 6055.12, (2010, December 3). Includes exposure limits and requirements for monitoring, control methods, hearing conservation programs, and more as part of the hearing conservation program.

US Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Consensus Standards and Recommendations from other Professional Organizations

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

  • A10.46-2007, Hearing Loss Prevention in Construction and Demolition Workers. Applies to all construction and demolition workers with potential noise exposures (continuous, intermittent and impulse) of 85 dBA and above.
  • S3.1-1999 (R2008), Maximum Permissible Ambient Noise Levels for Audiometric Test Rooms. Specifies maximum permissible ambient noise levels (MPANLs) allowed in audiometric test rooms.
  • S3.44-1996 (R2006), Determination of Occupational Noise Exposure and Estimation of Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment.
  • S3.6-2010, American National Standard Specification for Audiometers. Includes specifications and tolerances for audiometers and standard reference threshold levels for audiometric transducers.
  • S12.6-2008, Methods for Measuring the Real-Ear Attenuation of Hearing Protectors. Specifies laboratory-based procedures for measuring, analyzing & reporting passive noise-reducing capabilities of hearing protection devices.
  • S1.4-1983 (R2006), American National Standard Specification for Sound Level Meters. Establishes performance and accuracy requirements for sound level meters.
  • S1.25-1991 (R2007), American National Standard Specification for Personal Noise Dosimeters. Contains specifications for performance characteristics of personal noise dosimeters.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)

  • ACGIH has established exposure guidelines for occupational exposure to noise in their Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) (85 dBA PEL with a 3 dBA exchange rate).

World Health Organization (WHO)


*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 639-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 639-2300.

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