The ASSE or American Society of Safety Engineers has raised awareness to OSHA to lower the permissible exposure limit for noise from 90 to 85 dBA. This was brought to attention to them via a letter to OSHA from them opposing the agency’s Interpretation of Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering controls of Occupational Noise.

Currently, OSHA’s standard requires employers to control noise levels by using administrative or engineering controls, whereas the ASSE asks for personal protective equipment or PPE on the policy. OSHA has agreed to revise their enforcement to reflect this.

“We urge OSHA to focus its efforts on achieving a more effective measure to protect workers from hearing loss that, if taken, would make it much more important that OSHA carefully consider any future effort to pursue the proposed change in its economic feasibility interpretation,” wrote Norris. “Our members believe to help reduce noise exposures to employees it would be best to lower OSHA’s PELs from 90 dBA with a 5 dBA exchange rate to 85 dBA with a 3 dBA exchange rate for all workers for an eight hour day. This is a widely accepted practice among our members.”

“Instead of trying to make more difficult an already tough decision for some employers, ASSE urges OSHA to focus on the overall gains that can be made in a lower PEL for noise,” Norris said.

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