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.

July 27, 1987

Ms. Joyce Trackaler
Personnel Manager
GS Anchor Electric
Post Office Box 959
Manchester, New Hampshire 03105

Dear Ms. Trackaler:

This is in response to your letter of June 17 concerning audiometric testing.

The standard for occupational noise exposure, 29 CFR 1910.95, requires employers to make free audiometric testing available to all their employees who are exposed in a workday to at least the equivalence of 8 hours of noise of a constant sound pressure level of 85 dBA.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hopes that employees will take advantage of this free testing made available to them by law for their benefit, but it is not mandatory that they do so.

To assure that all employees are afforded access to acceptable audiometric testing programs, OSHA included a number of requirements that the programs employers offer must meet. Of course, some of the requirements, such as obtaining a valid baseline audiogram for an employee within 6 months of the employee's first exposure at or above the action level do not pertain for an employee who does not want audiometric testing.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter for you.


Leo Carey, Director
Directorate of Field Operations