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.

June 6, 1985

Rena H. Glaser, President
The National Hearing Conservation Association
(NHCA), Suite 630
1010 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

Dear Ms. Glaser:

This is in response to your letter of April 30 requesting an official interpretation for the term "effective hearing conservation program".

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has used this term in administrative documents prepared by the National Office to guide field offices in enforcing provisions contained in the standard for occupational noise exposure, 29 CFR 1910.95. The term means a hearing conservation program that prevents workplace noise from producing a standard threshold shift in the hearing ability of any employees. The OSHA definition of standard threshold shift is given at 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(10)(i).

Thank you for bring your question to us. If we can assist you again, we shall be glad to do so.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Field Operations

April 30, 1985

John B. Miles, Jr.
Director, Field Operations
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Miles:

I received a phone call from Mr. Gayle Brinkerhoff in response to my letter of 3/12/85 to you regarding a question on your memorandum to Regional Administrators dated 12/5/84. I appreciate Mr. Brinkerhoff's call. He indicated that the hearing conservation amendment is being enforced again.

In the event that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down the amendment, we would still like to have an official definition for the term "effective hearing conservation program". I am again looking forward to a prompt reply from your office.


Rena H. Glaser, President