High Environmental Health & Safety Consulting can address your noise exposure concerns. Noise exposure is regulated by several different entities based on the application.
WORKPLACE NOISE (OSHA):
We utilize various sound level meters and dosimeters to characterize workplace noise. Assessments are performed to evaluate compliance with OSHA's action limit of 85 dBA and permissible exposure limit of 90 dBA.
Where noise exposures exceed 90 dBA on a time-weighted-average (TWA), OSHA requires that companies implement engineering controls to reduce the noise levels, rather than solely rely on hearing protection devices to protect workers. High EH&S Consulting can assist your company in identifying and evaluating noise control options for a quieter workplace. We may utilize octave-band analysis to determine controlling noise frequencies and to assess the potential use of transmission loss or sound absorptive materials.
We can also assist in the development or auditing of audiometric testing programs which are mandated if workers are exposed to 85 dBA TWA or greater. Keep in mind that if you have noise in the workplace, you must assess the levels of noise and determine if they are hazardous and then take very specific programmatic actions in such situations (29 CFR 1910.95). We have conducted specialized noise studies related to the awareness and interpretation of noise in the workplace by individuals who were hearing impaired. By comparing the sound pressure levels and frequency of specific alarms to the employees' hearing loss, we were able to recommend which alarms would be more likely to be heard. Other types of services we can provide include:
- Noise Dosimetry Sampling Planning and Implementation
- Equipment Pre-Purchase / Pre-Installation Calculations of Anticipated Noise Changes
- Adequacy of Hearing Protection Devices based on Frequency Distribution Attenuation Compared to Workplace Noise Profiles
WORKPLACE NOISE (MSHA):
In addition to workplaces regulated by OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) also has regulations to protect workers who work in surface mines (quarries) and underground. 29 CFR 30 Section 62.110 addresses the requirements for noise monitoring and control These regulations are similar to but differ from OSHA's requirements.
ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE POLLUTION:
The EPA was responsible for establishing environmental noise pollution rules, but in 1981, this was turned over to the states and today many municipalities,cities and counties have established their own noise exposure standards for control of environmental noise pollution. In most cases, these levels are very low and they are focused on minimizing disruption in communities from noise, rather than protecting individuals from hearing loss. High EH&S has been involved in environmental noise pollution evaluations. These are most often derived from complaints from neighbors who feel that an organization is generating too much noise. We evaluate the code and perform perimeter monitoring to determine if legal levels are exceeded and provide guidance on abatement options.
Lisa Bolin, CIH, CSP, CIAQP, Manager of Environmental Health and Hygiene for more information on noise monitoring and control.