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• Publication Date: 12/14/2010
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 75:77798
• Standard Number: 1910; 1926
• Title: Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise

[Federal Register: December 14, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 239)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 77798]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr14de10-14]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2010-0032]

29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926

 
Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative 
or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Proposed Interpretation; extension of written comment period.

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SUMMARY: On October 19, 2010, OSHA published a notice of proposed 
interpretation entitled Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for 
Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise, 
giving interested parties 60 days to comment. The comment period is 
being extended by 90 days to give interested parties additional time to 
assess the impact of the proposed interpretation and submit comments.

DATES: Comments must be submitted (postmarked or sent) by March 21, 
2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
    Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal Rulemaking 
Portal. Follow the instructions online for making electronic 
submissions;
    Fax: You may fax submissions not longer than 10 pages, including 
attachments, to the OSHA Docket Office at 202-693-1648.
    Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger and courier service: 
If you use this option, you must submit three copies of your comments 
and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2010-0032, 
U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., 
Washington, DC 20210. Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger and 
courier service) are accepted from 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., e.t.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and the 
OSHA docket number for this interpretation (OSHA-2010-0032). 
Submissions are placed in the public docket without change and may be 
accessed online http://www.regulations.gov. Be careful about submitting 
personal information such as social security numbers and birth dates.
    Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at 
the address above. All documents in the docket are listed in the 
http://www.regulations.gov index; some information (e.g., copyrighted 
material), however, cannot be read or downloaded at the Web site. All 
submissions, including copyrighted material, can be examined or copied 
at the OSHA Docket Office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: General information or press 
inquiries: MaryAnn Garrahan, Acting Director, Office of Communications, 
Room N-3647, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone 202-693-1999.
    For Technical Inquiries: Audrey Profitt, Senior Industrial 
Hygienist, Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Room N-3119, OSHA, U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210; telephone: 202-693-2190, or fax: 202-693-1681.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Extension of the Comment Period

    On October 19, 2010, OSHA published a notice of proposed 
interpretation entitled Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for 
Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise. 
The notice proposed to clarify that the term feasible administrative or 
engineering controls as used in the applicable sections of OSHA's 
General Industry and Construction Occupational Noise Exposure standards 
has its ordinary meaning of capable of being done. The Agency announced 
its intention to revise and clarify its current enforcement policy to 
reflect this interpretation, and solicited comments from interested 
parties within 60 days, ending on December 20, 2010.
    OSHA's current enforcement policy for exposures less than 100 dBA 
has not reflected the noise standard's requirement that feasible 
engineering and administrative controls be used as the primary means of 
reducing noise exposure. Instead, the Agency has allowed many employers 
to rely upon a hearing conservation program, including the use of 
hearing protectors.
    Excessive noise levels continue to be a cause of hearing loss in 
the nation's workplaces. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
(BLS) has reported that over 125,000 workers have suffered significant, 
permanent hearing loss. In 2008 alone, BLS reported 22,000 hearing loss 
cases.
    Two commenters, the National Association of Manufacturers and the 
Coalition for Workplace Safety (CWS), representing employers who would 
be affected by the proposed interpretation, have requested an extension 
of 90 days to assess the operating changes that their members would be 
required to make to comply with the interpretation. In addition, CWS 
cites the proximity of the current deadline to the winter holidays as 
an additional reason for the extension.
    OSHA believes that these requests are reasonable. OSHA is 
interested in hearing from and carefully considering the views of 
affected persons before making a final decision on the proposed 
interpretation. Accordingly, to facilitate the submission of more 
thorough comments and help the agency assess the issues, OSHA is 
extending the comment period by 90 days from December 20, 2010 to March 
21, 2011.

    Authority: 29 U.S.C. 655; 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1) & 1926.52(b); 
Secretary of Labor's Order 4-2010, 75 FR 55355, September 10, 2010.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on December 7, 2010.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2010-31359 Filed 12-13-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-29-P

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