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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1904; 1904.10(b)(4); 1910.95(m)(2)

This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.

March 4, 2004

Mr. Carl O. Sall, CIH
Director of Occupational Safety
and Health Compliance
Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.
8229 Boone Boulevard, Suite 700
Vienna, VA 22182-2623

Dear Mr. Sall:

This is in response to your letter dated February 13, 2003. Thank you for your comments pertaining to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements contained in 29 CFR Part 1904. In your letter you requested clarifications on some issues related to the recording criteria for cases involving occupational hearing loss. Your questions are summarized below, followed by our responses.

Question: Does the thirty-day retest start on the day the initial hearing exam was completed, or on the date that the results are given to the employer?

Response: For OSHA purposes, the thirty-day retest begins from the date of the first test under Section 1904.10(b)(4) in the regulation. Also, see the
September 4, 1991 letter of interpretation to Mr. Paul V. Williams from Patricia Clark. A retest audiogram may not be substituted for an initial audiogram unless it is obtained within thirty calendar days of the date of initial audiogram regardless of the fact that an outside evaluating concern is used.

Question: Can I correct my OSHA 300 Log if on a subsequent exam an employee's hearing improves to a point that is no longer recordable?

Response: For purposes of OSHA recordkeeping, 1904.10(b)(4) states that "If subsequent audiometric testing indicates that a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) is not persistent, you may erase or line-out the recorded entry." While the recordkeeping rule does not require the employer to maintain documentation concerning the removal of cases, Section 1910.95(m)(2) of the noise standard requires the employer to keep records of all audiometric tests that are performed. Therefore, those records will be available, should they be needed for future reference.

Question: Does the hearing loss recordkeeping requirement apply to the Construction Industry?

Response: Yes. Employers in the construction industry are required to follow the recordkeeping requirements of 1904.  Hearing losses of employees that meet the recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.10 must be recorded.

Finally, you have asked OSHA to review your draft examples of how to properly record an occupational hearing loss case. Work-related hearing loss cases must be recorded if they meet the requirements of 1904.10. Two basic questions must be answered:
  1. Did the employee suffer a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) of 10 dB or more in one or both ears?

  2. Is the employee's overall hearing level 25 dB or more above audiometric zero in the same or both ears?
If both questions can be answered yes, then it must be recorded on the OSHA 300 log. A decision tree has been enclosed to aid you with your recordkeeping requirements.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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 appraised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please contact the Division of Recordkeeping Requirements, at 202-693-1702.


Frank Frodyma, Acting Director
Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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