Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1910.95(i)(2)(i); 1910.95(i)(2)(ii)|
|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.|
|MEMORANDUM FOR:||EDUARDAS J. SKLADAITIS
|FROM:||LINDA R. ANKU
|SUBJECT:||Use of walkman radio, tape or CD players and their effect when hearing protection is in use Inspection No. 100499150.|
Twenty different Walkman type headsets were evaluated for noise attenuation at North Carolina State University (NCSU). The NRR varied from a low of 0.3 dB to a high of 2.6 dB with an average NRR of 1 dB. Therefore, such headsets afford no ear protection.The NCSU study also found the following facts. The typical commercial Walkman headset provided the following A-weighted decibel levels for these volume settings: 64 dBA/25%, 81 dBA/50%, 91 dBA/75%, and 96 dBA/100%. In a North Carolina textile mill where the TWA was 87 dBA NCSU researchers found the median Walkman level to be 84 dBA with 20% of the workers listening at 90 dBA or greater. The industrial hygiene department of GM found typical headset output levels of 99 to 100 dBA in auto workers with a maximum exposure level of 117 dBA. Most of the commercially-available headsets for Walkmen will produce 100 to 103 dB SPL for an output voltage of 1 mV. Therefore, listening to a Walkman unit at more than 50% to 75% rated output will generate sound levels in excess of the OSHA PEL creating a threat to the wearer's hearing, and this may also produce a safety hazard by masking environmental sounds that need to be heard.
If Walkman headsets are worn over otherwise effective ear protection, then the unit's volume control has to be adjusted to exceed the hearing protector's field attenuation. This obviates the effectiveness of the ear protection and is a violation of the noise standard 29 CFR 1910.95(i)(2)(i) or (ii).
|MEMORANDUM FOR:||LINDA R. ANKU
|ATTENTION:||Kenneth W. Gerecke
|SUBJECT:||Use of Walkman Radio, and Its Effect on Hearing .|
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
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