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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 http://www.osha.gov.
March 26, 1984
MEMORANDUM FOR: GILBERT J. SAULTER Regional Administrator Region VI ATTN: HERBERT M. KURTZ ARA for Technical Support Region VI THRU: JOHN B. MILES Director Directorate of Field Operations FROM: EDWARD J. BAIER Director Directorate of Technical Support SUBJECT: Interpretation of Hearing Conservation Amendment: Your Memorandum of February 14, 1984 Regarding Ms. Anne Zufelt and The Valley Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, Inc.
Your assessment of the situation is correct. It is imperative that a baseline audiogram be established or be attempted to be established for each employee. Medical referrals should be made on the basis of this audiogram and other supporting evidence such as an otoscopic examination.
February 14, 1984
MEMORANDUM FOR: EDWARD J. BAIER Director Directorate of Technical Support THRU: JOHN B. MILES, JR. Director Directorate of Field Operations FROM: GILBERT J. SAULTER Regional Administrator SUBJECT: Interpretation of Hearing Conservation Amendment
I have received a request for assistance on the 29 CFR 1910.95(c)-(p) Hearing Conservation Amendment from Ms. Anne Zufelt of The Valley Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, Inc. In the attached correspondence Ms. Zufelt indicates that an otoscopic examination is taken before any audiometric test is administered. If there are abnormalities; i.e., impacted wax, perforation, infection, then the employee is instructed to go to an ear specialist. The audiometric test is not administered until the employee has seen a specialist and has a release from the specialist.
Ms. Zufelt further indicates that many employees refuse to go to the specialist because the employer will not pay for the exam and they do not have the money.
It is my feeling that the purpose of the baseline and annual examination is to establish the hearing threshold of the employee. Even if there is a medical problem such as a perforation, the hearing level must be established to document future improvement or changes. A medical referral should be made on the basis of the audiogram and other supporting evidence such as an otoscopic examination.
Your assistance in resolving this matter will be appreciated. Please forward a copy of your response to the attention of Herbert M. Kurtz, Assistant Regional Administrator for Technical Support.