• Publication Date:
  • Publication Type:
  • Fed Register #:
  • Title:
    Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss: Stakeholder Meeting
[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 194 (Thursday, October 6, 2011)][Notices][Pages 62093-62094]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-25904]



Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss: Stakeholder Meeting

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.


SUMMARY: OSHA invites interested parties to participate in an informal
stakeholder meeting on preventing occupational hearing loss. Every
year, between 20,000 and 25,000 workers suffer from preventable hearing
loss due to high workplace noise levels. The purpose of this meeting is
to provide a forum and gather information on the best practices for
noise reduction in the workplace, including a discussion on personal
protective equipment, hearing conservation programs and engineering
controls. OSHA is holding this stakeholder meeting as part of its
commitment to work with stakeholders on approaches to preventing
occupational hearing loss.

DATES: The date for the stakeholder meeting is November 03, 2011, from
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. est., in Washington, DC. The deadline for registration
to attend or participate in the meeting is October 27, 2011.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in the Francis Perkins Building,
U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-4437 A/B/C/D, at 200 Constitution
Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. The nearest Metro station is Judiciary
Square (Red Line). Photo ID is required to enter the building.
    Registration to attend or participate in the meeting: To
participate in the November 03, 2011 stakeholder meeting, or be a
nonparticipating observer, you must register electronically, by phone,
or by facsimile by close of business on October 27, 2011.
    Electronically: https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm.
    By Phone: Please call 781-674-7374.
    Facsimile: Fax your request to (781) 674-2906. Registrants should
label their faxes as: "Attention: OSHA Preventing Occupational Hearing
Loss: Stakeholder Meeting."
    When registering please indicate the following: (1) Name, address,
phone, fax, and e-mail address; (2) Organization for which you work;
and, (3) Organization you will represent (if different).
    The meeting will last 4 hours, and be limited to approximately 30
participants. OSHA will do its best to accommodate all persons who wish
to participate. OSHA encourages persons and groups having similar
interests to consolidate their information and participate through a
single representative. Members of the general public may observe, but
not participate in, the meetings as space permits. OSHA staff will be
present to take part in the discussions.
    Eastern Research Group (ERG), Inc., (110 Hartwell Avenue,
Lexington, MA 02421), will manage logistics for the meetings, provide a
facilitator, and compile notes summarizing the discussion. These notes
will not identify individual speakers. The summary notes will be
available for review at http://www.osha.gov.
    OSHA will confirm participants to ensure a fair representation of
interests and a wide range of viewpoints. Nonparticipating observers
who do not register for the meeting will be accommodated as space
permits. Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice, as well as
news releases and other relevant documents, are available on the OSHA
Web page at: http://www.osha.gov.

of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-
1999; e-mail: Meilinger.Francis2@dol.gov.


I. Background

    Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most
prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more
than 25 years. Every year between 20,000 and 25,000 workers suffer from
preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. The Bureau
of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have
suffered significant, permanent hearing loss since 2004. Neither
surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss.
    On October 19, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal
Register (FR) a proposed interpretation titled "Interpretation of
OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls
of Occupational Noise" (http://www.edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-26135.htm).
The proposed interpretation would have clarified the term
"feasible administrative or engineering controls" as used in OSHA's
noise standard. This FR notice requested comments on the proposal to
clarify that the word "feasible" has its ordinary, plain meaning of
"capable of being done." Comments were due December 20, 2010;
however, in response to several requests from the regulated community,
OSHA extended the comment period by 90 days to March 21, 2010. Over 90
comments were received in response to this proposed interpretation.
OSHA stated that it would review all of the comments before making its
final decision.
    The proposed interpretation was subsequently withdrawn on January
19, 2011, (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=19119).
OSHA decided to suspend work on the proposal in order to conduct
an education, outreach and consultation initiative on preventing work-related
hearing loss. As part of the agency's initiative, the agency committed
to holding a stakeholder meeting on preventing occupational hearing loss to
elicit the views of employers, workers, and noise control and public
health professionals. The meeting announced in this notice fulfills this commitment.

II. Stakeholder Meeting

    The stakeholder meeting announced in this notice will be conducted
as a group discussion on views, concerns, and issues surrounding the
hazards of occupational exposure to noise and how best to control them.
To facilitate as much group interaction as possible, formal
presentations by stakeholders will not be permitted. The stakeholder
meeting discussions will center on preventing occupational hearing loss
and will include such subjects as the use of personal protective
equipment, effective hearing conservation programs and the use of
feasible engineering controls to control noise exposure in the
workplace. The discussions will focus on topics such as noise control
challenges and the best practices in construction, general industry and
other sectors where noise is a hazard. The specific issues to be
discussed will include the following:
     What are the best practices regarding hearing conservation
     What are the best practices for, as well as concerns with,
using personal protective equipment for noise control?
     What are the best practices for using feasible engineering
     What are examples of companies that have effective noise
control programs and what are the key elements of their programs?

Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the direction of Dr. David
Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and

    Signed at Washington, DC, on October 3, 2011.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2011-25904 Filed 10-5-11; 8:45 am]