BEFORE THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON, D. C. : OCCUPATIONAL NOISE EXPOSURE DOCKET NO. OSH-llA

by Jakina Debnam on March 21, 1975
by Jakina Debnam and John F. Morrall

Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed that the current 90 dBA (time-weighted average) general industry noise standard be continued “until further empirical data and information on the health risk, feasibility, and economic impact indicate the practical ity and necessity of an 85 dBA requirement” (39 FR 37773). In its notice, OSHA proposed also specific procedures which would be followed by industry in meeting the 90 dBA standard. These included (39 FR 37774).
1. Installation of engineering and administrative controls to reduce noise exposure to workers wherever feasible (personal protective devices to be used only as a last resort);
2. Establishment of programs for:
(a) Continuous monitoring of noise exposure in areas where noise levels exceed 85 dBA;
(b) Audiometric testing of workers exposed to noise levels in excess of 85 dBA; and
(c) Recordkeeping with respect to noise exposure levels and worker health.

The purpose of the proposed standard is to reduce the risk of hearing loss for employees exposed to noise in the workplace for prolonged periods. The Council on Wage and Price Stability (Council) supports the goal of improving worker health in the most efficient and effective ways and has expressed its concern on the issue of noise twice before by filing comments to this docket on March 21, 1975, and presenting testimony at the public hearings held last summer.
The Council ‘s concern is that a standard be set that protects the maximum number of workers from hearing risk at costs that are commensurate with the full social value of that reduction in hearing risk and that the standard adopted be the least-cost, acceptable method of attaining that goal. Only in this manner can we be assured that the proposed standard is anti- (or at least non-) inflationary.

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