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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.95; 1910.95(g)(5)(i)

March 7, 2007

Mr. George A. Glassanos
Deputy Counsel
Department of Correctional Services
1220 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12226-2050

Dear Mr. Glassanos:

Thank you for your January 2, 2007 letter regarding audiograms and the requirements of the Occupational Noise Exposure standard, 29 CFR 1910.95. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence.

In your letter you stated that all candidates being evaluated for employment are given baseline audiograms upon intake, and those hired will usually have their first exposure to noise within a few weeks of commencement of employment. Your question is whether the baseline audiogram may be administered either before of after their first exposure.

The baseline audiogram may be given either before or after an employee's first exposure to noise but must be given no later than six months after an employee's exposure to noise above the action level.

The baseline audiogram is the reference against which future audiograms are compared in order to determine the extent to which an employee's hearing is deteriorating. If it is not conducted properly, it will not reflect the employee's true threshold, and any changes between baseline and future tests may be masked. Pre-employment audiograms are usually given for reasons other than complying with OSHA regulations. These records may serve as a baseline and be used for future compliance with the noise standard, only if they were conducted in a manner that complies with all the requirements for baseline audiograms specified in the noise standard. If these audiograms do not meet the requirements of the noise standard, then another audiogram must be given to serve as the baseline audiogram, and it must be given no later than six months from the employee's first exposure above the action level.

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. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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