OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

April 6, 1983

Mr. John E. Schroll: Administrative Manager
Medical Department
Cannon Mills Company
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28021

Dear Mr. Schroll:

Your letter of March 16, 1983, to James Foster, Office of Information, has been referred to this office for response. Paragraph (g)(8)(i) of 29 CFR 1910.95, requires that employees be informed in writing within 21 days of the determination of a standard threshold shift (STS). This section is a restatement of section (j)(8)(iv)(a) contained in the August 21, 1981, hearing conservation amendment. The discussion regarding this paragraph contained in the preamble to the August 1981 amendment still applies.

The hearing conservation amendment does not contain a time limit for the period from the date of the annual audiogram to the time an STS determination is made. A time limit of 21 days is set for informing employees in writing that an STS occurred once an STS determination has been made. Determining whether an STS has occurred is a medical decision which should be made as quickly as possible after the annual audiogram is given so that required protective measures can be taken. OSHA recognizes that logistical problems associated with testing the many employees in your plants could result in slightly varying times from plant to plant determining whether an STS has occurred. Your planned use of a computer to compapre annual audiograms to baseline audiograms should help you reduce this time for determining an STS to a minimum.

If you have any further queston, please do not hesitate to contact us.


R. Leonard Vance, Ph.D.
Health Standards Programs