To maintain compliance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 (Hearing Conservation), monitoring must be conducted to determine areas of high noise levels and the presence of high noise sources. The effort is to reduce the potential that personnel have permanent damage to their hearing from noise induced hearing loss.
Exposures to excessive noise levels may require personnel to be part of a hearing conservation program (HCP). Approximately 17 percent, or 26 million, adults (age 20-69) have permanent damage to their hearing from exposure to excessive noise.
Placing personnel into an HCP can be challenging. In particular, a decision must be made as to when certain personnel are not required to receive an annual audio exam as part of their medical surveillance. This becomes even more challenging when it involves a larger population of workers on a multi-employer, federal worksite. At a research and development facility, work may be very non-routine for many employees. For others, such as maintenance personnel, their task may vary but take on a more routine nature.
As part of a medical surveillance program, personnel have been placed on the hearing conservation program based solely on their job classification and knowledge of the type of work the employees perform. Most of these employees are not assigned to a certain location because their work requires them to conduct tasks in many areas of the facility. A review of the medical surveillance questionnaire would be made and based on past history, job classification and knowledge of the worksite, a decision would be made to determine inclusion into the hearing conservation program.