Occupational Noise Exposure


Noise hazards are addressed in OSHA standards for recordkeeping and general industry. This section highlights OSHA standards and documents related to noise. For information on construction employment, see the construction requirements section.

Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to "furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees". This section may be used to address hazards for which there are no specific standards, e.g. noise in agricultural operations.

OSHA Standards
Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904)
Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904)
Related Information

1904 Subpart (C)

1904.10, Recording criteria for cases involving occupational hearing loss.

Related Information
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Related Information

1910 Subpart G - Occupational Health and Environmental Control

1910.95, Occupational noise exposure.

Related Information
State Plan Standards

There are 29 OSHA-approved State Plans operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

  • 49 CFR 227, Occupational Noise Exposure for Railroad Operating Employees. Requires railroads to conduct noise monitoring and implement a hearing conservation program for employees whose exposure to cab noise equals or exceeds an 8-hour TWA of 85 dBA. This final rule became effective February 26, 2007.
  • 49 CFR 229, Railroad Locomotive Safety Standards

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

  • Occupational Noise Exposure. Publication No. 98-126, (June 1998). Includes revisions to previous 1972 recommendations that go beyond attempting to conserve hearing by focusing on preventing occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

  • DoD Hearing Conservation Program. Instruction No. 6055.12, (December 3, 2010). Includes exposure limits and requirements for monitoring, control methods, hearing conservation programs, and more as part of the hearing conservation program.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

  • S3.1, Maximum Permissible Ambient Noise Levels for Audiometric Test Rooms. Specifies maximum permissible ambient noise levels (MPANLs) allowed in audiometric test rooms.
  • S3.44, Determination of Occupational Noise Exposure and Estimation of Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment.
  • S3.6, American National Standard Specification for Audiometers. Includes specifications and tolerances for audiometers and standard reference threshold levels for audiometric transducers.
  • S12.6, Methods for Measuring the Real-Ear Attenuation of Hearing Protectors. Specifies laboratory-based procedures for measuring, analyzing & reporting passive noise-reducing capabilities of hearing protection devices.
  • S1.4, American National Standard Specification for Sound Level Meters. Establishes performance and accuracy requirements for sound level meters.
  • S1.25, American National Standard Specification for Personal Noise Dosimeters. Contains specifications for performance characteristics of personal noise dosimeters.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)

  • ACGIH has established exposure guidelines for occupational exposure to noise in their Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) (85 dBA PEL with a 3 dBA exchange rate).