OSHA Issues Final Rule on Hearing Loss Recordability
On July 1, 2002 OSHA released it’s final rule on hearing loss recordability, requiring the recording of Standard Threshold shifts (10dB shift) that have resulted in a total 25dB level of hearing above the audiometric zero, averaged over the frequencies at 2000, 3000, and 4000Hz, beginning January 1, 2003.
What does this mean? There must be an STS of 10dB or greater average change AND hearing thresholds must meet or exceed a 25dB average as a result of the STS.
Age Correction is allowed.
Work relatedness is presumed if the employee noise exposure> 85dBATWA-8hour. It is not necessary for the work place to be the sole cause or even the predominant cause of the hearing loss in order for it to be work related. A physician or other licensed health care professional (audiologist) may determine that the loss is not work-related or has not been significantly aggravated by occupational noise exposure. Recordable cases must be entered on the OSHA 300 log within 7 calendar days of the annual test. This rule refers to the “300 Log column for hearing loss”: however, in a separate federal register posting, OSHA delays implementation of a separate column for hearing loss to January 2004, and asks for comments.
If you choose to retest the employee within 30 days, you do not need to record the hearing loss unless the retest confirms the shift. If you choose not to retest, the hearing loss must be recorded within 7 calendar days of the annual test.
Baseline must be revised for each ear separately if there is a shift in one ear only.
State-plan states MUST adopt federal criteria. More stringent recording requirements are not allowed.
Please investigate Federal Register Vol.67, No. 126, Pages 44037-44048 for full details (http://www.access.gop.gov/nar/).