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.

September 27, 1983

Mr. George R. Cook
842 North Highland Avenue, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30306

Dear Mr. Cook:

Thank you for your letter of August 24, 1983, regarding clarification of the employee notification requirements of the occupational noise exposure standard, 29 CFR 1910.95.

Paragraph (g)(8)(2) requires that employees be informed in writing within 21 days of the determination that a standard threshold shift (STS) has occurred. Every annual audiogram which, when compared to the baseline audiogram, shows an STS requires employee notification. The only way to avoid picking up this same STS on each subsequent annual audiogram is to revise the baseline as provided in paragraph (g)(9)(i). Your letter states that you will be requiring that three audiograms show the same STS before you will establish a new baseline. Therefore, when the second annual audiogram (Year 3) shows an STS, the employee must be informed. The notification should emphasize that this second latter only confirms the original STS determination of the previous year, providing no further hearing loss was found. When the third annual audiogram confirms the STS, the baseline audiogram will be revised, and the original STS will no longer be repeatedly identified for the same employee.

I hope this information will be helpful to you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Patrick R. Tyson
Deputy Assistant Secretary