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Hearing Conservation Standards and Regulations

CONGRESS SLATED TO URGE OSHA TO FOCUS ON HEARING PROTECTION According to a May 2008 report by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), the U.S. House of Representatives plans to move forward with a recommendation to OSHA that, with its FY09 funding, the Agency should focus on hearing protection regulations. The recommendation is in the form of "report language," which is not binding, but federal agencies heed it closely. The hearing protection "report language" addresses hearing protection for construction and general industry. The report language would state:

  • The Committee notes that OSHA is responsible for regulation of occupational exposure to hazardous noise, but nearly thirty years after the issuance of a hearing standard for general industry, OSHA has failed to issue a similar rule to protect workers in the construction industry. Though a hearing conservation standard has been on OSHA's regulatory agenda for years, it has been downgraded to an item for long-term action.
  • The Committee urges OSHA to put this rulemaking back on the active regulatory agenda and move forward to issue a regulation.
  • In addition, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes its final rule on hearing protectors, for which EPA's Office of Air and Radiation has jurisdiction, the Committee expects OSHA shall develop apian, with timelines for expected action, to update regulations for occupational exposure to hazardous noise based on the new EPA rule, current science, and best practices.

ISEA reports that, while the appropriations process is moving forward, there is no specific date for next action on the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, which contains funding for OSHA. If you'd like to help support these recommendations please contact ISEA Public Affairs Director Dan Glucksman for more information and suggestions for contacting members of Congress.