Occupational noise
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Occupational Noise. AMI Environmental Environmental Health & Safety Dan Taylor. www.amienvironmental.com. BIO. AMI Environmental

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Occupational Noise

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Occupational noise

Occupational Noise

AMI Environmental

Environmental Health & Safety

Dan Taylor


Occupational noise


AMI Environmental

  • AMI Environmental is a full-service environmental consulting and remediation firm, specializing in facility-based environmental problems affecting facility operations, renovation and demolition activities. Established in 1986 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, AMI services clients nationally and internationally.

    • Dan Taylor, CEO

    • Over 25 years Environmental Health & Safety Experience




How We Got Here

  • 1969-DOL issued the Walsh-Healey noise standard 90 dBA for 8 exp. Federal contracts of $10,000 or more.

  • 1970- DOL issues Bulletin 334. “Continuous, Effective Conservation Program”

  • 1970 Congress passes OSH Act. “Every Man and Women”

  • 1971-OSHA made the Walsh-Healey noise standard an OSHA standard.


Did you know

Did you Know?

  • Noise induced hearing loss is the most common occupational hazard for American workers.

  • Hearing loss from noise is slow and painless; you can develop a disability before you notice it.

  • If you must raise your voice to speak

    with someone only 3 feet away, you are

    in high (hazardous) noise.

  • It is 100% preventable.


What is noise

What is Noise?

  • Noise is defined as:

    • Sound or a sound that is loud, unpleasant, unexpected, or undesired.

    • By product of many industrial processes (ex. operating machinery)

    • Exposure to high levels of

      noise may lead to

      hearing loss


How much noise is too much

How Much Noise is Too Much?

  • 85 Decibels (dB) - the "Action Level" where hearing protection is required.

  • 90 dB - the OSHA, 8 hour average exposure limit.

  • 100 dB - exposures longer than 15 minutes are not recommended.

  • 110 dB - regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss


Noise permissible exposure limits pel

Noise Permissible Exposure Limits(PEL)

  • Utilize administrative or engineering controls when sound levels exceed Noise permissible Exposure Levels.

    (8 hours permitted duration per workday for 90 dBA sound level)

  • Provide hearing protection if above controls fail to reduce sound levels within Permissible exposure levels


Noise regulations

Noise Regulations


Hearing conservation program

Hearing Conservation Program

  • Implemented whenever employee noise exposures equal or exceed an 8 hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA without attenuation from use of hearing protection.


Elements of hearing conservation program

Elements of Hearing Conservation Program

  • Noise Monitoring

  • Hearing Protection

  • Audiometric Testing

  • Training

  • Record Keeping


    OSHA Noise Standard and Hearing Conservation Amendment 29 CFR 1910.95


Occupational noise


Rule of thumb

Rule of Thumb

When you feel the need to shout in order to be heard 3 feet away, the noise levels are probably 85 dB or more and hearing protection is recommended.


Anatomy physiology of the ear

Anatomy & Physiology of the Ear


Sound pressure level

Sound Pressure Level

Definition: the local pressure deviation from the ambient (average, or equilibrium) atmospheric pressure caused by a sound wave.

  • Sound waves are energy produced by vibrating objects

  • The larynx vibrates to produce the voice

  • The vibrations create a pattern, which the ear translates into sound

  • As you double the distance from a noise source loudness decreased by half

  • Strong vibrations from very loud noises can damage the ear


How we hear sounds

How we hear sounds

  • Sound waves enter the ear canal striking the eardrum.

  • When the eardrum vibrates, ossicles conduct vibrations to the cochlea.

  • Tiny hair like cells in cochlea respond to vibrations by generating nerve impulses.

    Healthy hair cells are the key to good hearing. Although, some die off naturally as you age, many more are killed early from unprotected exposure to hazardous noise.


Effects of noise on hearing

Effects of Noise on Hearing

  • How quickly hearing loss takes place depends on the intensity of the noise, its duration, and how often the exposure occurs.


Symptoms of overexposure to noise

Symptoms of Overexposure to Noise

  • Temporary Threshold Shift

    • Muffled sound after noise exposure

    • If continued overexposure, this can worsen and become permanent.

  • Tinnitus

    • Ringing in the ears

    • If continued overexposure, this can become permanent.


How hearing is damaged

How Hearing is Damaged

  • Hair like cells are flattened

  • You don’t get used to noise; you gradually loose your hearing

  • Once hearing is damaged it can not be repaired.


Signs of hearing loss

Signs of Hearing Loss

  • Difficulty hearing people speak

  • Inability to hear certain high pitched or soft sounds

  • Noise or ringing in the ears

  • Complaints that the

    radio or tv is too loud


Types of hearing loss

Types of Hearing Loss

  • Conductive

    • Caused by something that stops sound from reaching the outer or middle ear (infection, foreign bodies, fluid, earwax, malformation of ear)

  • Sensorineural

    • Hearing loss that occurs when there is a problem with the nerve in the middle ear.

    • Caused by birth injury, disease, noise exposure, trauma, and ageing

  • Mixed

    • Hearing loss that includes both conductive and sensorineural


Noise induced hearing loss

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

  • Noise induced hearing loss occurs from exposure to loud noises.

    • Constant exposure over a period of time

    • Exposed to sound levels over 140 dBA

    • Tinnitus

  • Age induced hearing loss

    • Hereditary

    • Nerve damage

    • Exposure to high sound levels


Occupational non occupational hearing loss

Occupational/Non Occupational Hearing loss

  • Occupational Hearing Loss

    • Results from constant exposure to sound levels above 85 dBA TWA

    • Damage to hair cells in cochlea

  • Non-Occupational Hearing Loss

    • Results from constant exposure to sound levels above 85 dBA TWA

    • Results from damage to outer, middle or inner ear, hereditary, ototoxic drugs


Statistics on occupational hearing loss

Statistics on Occupational Hearing Loss

  • Four million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.

  • In 2008, approximately 2 million U.S. workers were exposed to noise levels at work that put them at risk of hearing loss.

  • In 2007, approximately 23,000 cases were reported of occupational hearing loss that was great enough to cause hearing impairment. Reported cases of hearing loss accounted for 14% of occupational illness in 2007.

  • In 2007, approximately 82% of the cases involving occupational hearing loss were reported among workers in the manufacturing sector.


Effects of noise on hearing1

Effects of Noise on Hearing


Recognizing occupational hazardous noise

Recognizing Occupational Hazardous Noise

  • Operating fork lift

  • Cutting Wood

  • Cutting Lawn

  • Welding

  • Grinding

  • Chipping Concrete

  • Working near Generator

  • Operating Chop Saw

  • Stationary Power Tools

  • Screw Gun, Drill


Recognizing non occupational noise

Recognizing Non Occupational Noise

  • Household Noises

    • Vacuum

    • Lawn mower

    • Power tools

    • IpodBoombox

  • Noisy Hobbies

    • Loud music

    • Firearms

    • Car/motorcycle race track

    • Sporting events

    • Loud speakers


Noise monitoring

Noise Monitoring

  • Used to identify work locations where hazardous noise levels exist.

  • Exposures to noise monitored periodically with:

    • Sound level meter (area noise level)

    • Noise Dosimeter

      (personal noise exposure level)


Noise mapping area monitoring

Noise Mapping (Area Monitoring)


Noise dosimetry personal monitoring

Noise Dosimetry (Personal Monitoring)


Permissible exposure limits

Permissible Exposure Limits


Impact or impulsive noise

Impact or Impulsive Noise

  • Exposure to impact of impulsive noise should not exceed

    140 dB peak

    sound pressure level.


Affected employees

Affected Employees

  • Employees subjected to noise exceeding permissible noise limits shall be provided hearing protection devices, if feasible administrative or engineering controls failed to reduce noise levels.

  • Employee exposed to noise at or above the 8 hour TWA of 85 dB, or equivalently, a dose of 50% shall be notified and enrolled in HCP.


Noise control

Noise Control

  • Administrative Control

  • Engineering Control

  • Personal Protective Equipment (hearing protective devices)


Administrative control

Administrative Control

  • Operate noisy equipment on second or third shifts.

  • Rotate employees through high noise areas.

  • Modify existing machinery

  • Place noise limit specs on new equipment

  • Maintain equipment, keep in good condition

  • Report noisy equipment to supervisor for repair.


Engineering controls

Engineering controls

  • Reduce noise at the source

  • Interrupt the noise path

  • Reduce reverberation and structural vibration


Personal protective equipment hearing protection devices hpd

Personal Protective Equipment (Hearing Protection Devices HPD)

  • Employers shall provide employees exposed to 8 hr TWA of 85 dB at no cost.

  • Employers shall ensure being worn:

    • By employees exposed to 8 hr TWA of 90 dB or greater

    • By employees exposed to 8 hr TWA of 85 dB or greater and

      • Whose baseline audiogram has not been established

      • Who have experienced a threshold shift


Hearing protection device hpd noise reduction

Hearing Protection Device HPD Noise Reduction

  • HPD must reduce employee noise exposure below PEL (8 hr TWA of 90 dB)

  • Employees with standard threshold shift (STS) HPD must reduce employees noise exposure below an 8 hr TWA of 85 dB.


Hearing protection use

Hearing Protection Use

  • Voluntary Use

    • Exposed to an 8 hr TWA of 85 dB

  • Mandatory Use

    • Exposed to an 8 hr TWA of 90 dB

    • Exposed to an 8 hr TWA of 85 dB but have not had a baseline hearing test

    • Employees who have suffered STS hearing loss an dare exposed to an 8 hr TWA of 85 dBA


Employee responsibility

Employee Responsibility

  • Understand the need for hearing protection devices

  • Wear HPDs and seek replacements

  • Encourage co workers to wear HPDs

  • Communicate problems to supervisors


Management responsibility

Management Responsibility

  • Provide occupational noise training

  • Provide hearing protection devices

  • Demonstrate commitment (wear HPDs)

  • Enforce the use of HPDS

  • Keep up to date with HPD selection and use.

  • Encourage questions and resolve problems.


Purpose of hearing protectors

Purpose of hearing protectors

  • Reduction of sound waves traveling to the inner ear.


Advantages and disadvantages of different t ypes of hearing p rotectors

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Hearing Protectors


Attenuation of different types of hearing protectors

Attenuation of Different Types of Hearing Protectors

  • Ear Plugs

    • Reduce noise by as much as 30 decibels

  • Ear Canals

    • Reduce noise by as much as 30 decibels

    • Used when individual is unable to use traditional ear plugs

  • Ear Muffs

    • reduce noise by as much as 15-30 decibels

    • Use in conjunction with ear plugs when exposed to high noise levels (105+ decibels)


Instructions on selection fitting use and care of hearing protectors

Instructions on Selection, Fitting, Use, and Care of Hearing Protectors

  • Earplugs

    • Keep clean and free of materials

      • Wash in mild liquid detergent and warm water

      • Squeeze excess water and air dry

    • Discard plugs when hardened or do not re expand

  • Ear Canals

    • Clean like normal ear plugs

    • Do not tamper with the headband and the acoustic seal


Instructions on selection fitting use and care of hearing protectors1

Instructions on Selection, Fitting, Use, and Care of Hearing Protectors

  • Ear Muffs

    • Keep clean and free of debris

      • Clean cushions with warm soapy water

    • Do not tamper with the acoustic seal between the cushions and the headband

    • Do not modify the ear muffs in any way

    • Do not stretch or abuse the headband




  • Provide annually to employees who are exposed to noise at or above 8 hr TWA of 85 dB.

  • Topics must include

    • Effects of Noise on Hearing

    • Purpose of Hearing protectors

    • Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Hearing Protectors

    • Instruction on Selection, Fitting, Use, of Hearing Protectors

    • Purpose of Audiometric Testing


Questions answers

Questions & Answers

Q & A


Occupational noise


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