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POL: 2011 HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM �� rN r. _ I'J�6 LI II r SON CO The Jefferson County Hearing Conservation Program was adopted by the Jefferson County Commission on April 12, 2011 I I ZA/0' Leonard Wortman, Chair Tomas E Lyt goe Dave Kirsch S GG VR ED�' v 6E, T � HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM JEFFERSON COUNTY i U W U MONTANA =1 �� c BA �+ ktRSON CO Prepared by: Carolyn Henry, Safety Coordinator Date: October , 2010 1. PURPOSE The purpose of this Hearing Conservation program is to prevent occupational hearing loss and comply with the COMM/OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95 - Occupational Noise Exposure. II. AUTHORITY AND REFERENCE Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.95 Dept. Of Commerce Chapter 32 III. APPLICATION The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Occupational Noise Exposure standard 29 CFR 1910.95 establishes a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for occupational noise exposure, and requirements for audiometric testing, hearing protection, and employee training if those sound levels are exceeded. This regulation defines an "action level" (AL) as a "dose" of 50 %, which is equivalent to an eight -hour time weighted average of 85 dBA. When noise levels exceed this amount, an effective Hearing Conservation program is required, which includes as a minimum: Requirement Section 1. Noise monitoring 29 CFR 1910.95(d)(e)(f) 2. Audiometric testing 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(h) 3. Hearing protectors 29 CFR 1910.95(i)(j) 4. Education and training 29 CFR 1910.95(k)(1) 5. Recordkeeping 29 CFR 1910.95(m) Note: The OSHA regulation only indicates a minimum level of hearing protection and focuses on permanent hearing loss. Short durations of noise, especially sharp bursts of noise at these levels can not only induce hearing loss but can also affect an employee's health and safety in other ways. 1. IV. BACKGROUND Occupational noise can cause hearing loss, and increase the worker's susceptibility to other workplace problems including physical and psychological disorders, interference with speech and communication, and disruption of job performance associated with excessive noise intensities. This exposure to noise produces hearing loss of a neural type involving injury to the inner ear hair cells. The loss of hearing may be temporary or permanent. Brief exposure causes a temporary loss. Repeated exposure to high noise levels will cause a permanent loss. Permanent hearing loss is preventable with the continued use of proper hearing protection and reduction of workplace noise levels to below 85 decibels. This will benefit not only employees who can listen and communicate well throughout their lifetimes, but also helps the employer in terms of reduced exposure to hearing loss compensation claims and a potential for increased general safety and job performance. V. RESPONSIBILITY FOR COMPLIANCE The administration of this program will be the responsibility of the Safety Coordinator. Administrative responsibilities include: 1. Coordination and supervision of noise exposure monitoring. 2. Identification of employees to be included in the Hearing Conservation Program. 3, Coordination and supervision of audiometric testing program. 4. Supervision of hearing protector selection. 5. Development of policies relating to the use of hearing protectors. 6. Supervision of training programs. 7. Coordination of required record keeping. 8. Periodic evaluation of overall program. 9. Coordination of required changes /improvements in the program. 2. VI. NOISE MONITORING 1. When information indicates that any employee's exposure may equal or exceed an 8 -hour time- weighted average of 85 decibels, the employer shall develop and implement a monitoring program. 2. Employers shall identify employees for inclusion in the Hearing Conservation program and enable the proper selection of hearing protectors. 3. All continuous, intermittent and impulsive sound levels from 80 decibels to 130 decibels shall be integrated into the noise measurements. 4. Instruments used to measure employee noise exposure shall be calibrated to ensure measurement accuracy. 5. Monitoring shall be repeated whenever a change in production, process, equipment or controls increases noise exposures to the extent that: i. Additional employees may be exposed at or above the action level; or ii. The attenuation provided by hearing protectors being used by employees may be rendered inadequate to meet the requirements (explained in section IX). 6. The employer shall notify each employee exposed at or above an 8 -hour time- weighted average of 85 decibels of the results of the monitoring. 7. The employer shall provide affected employees or their representatives with an opportunity to observe any noise measurements conducted. 8. Monitoring will be coordinated by the Safety Coordinator with assistance from the Dept. of Labor and Industries. 9. The results of the noise exposure measurements shall be recorded and kept on file with the Safety Coordinator I. AUDIOMETRIC TESTING The employer shall make audiometric testing available to all employees whose exposures equal or exceed an 8 -hour time- weighted average of 85 decibels. The program shall be provided at no cost to employees. 3. Audiometric tests shall be performed by a licensed or certified audiologist, otolaryngologist, or other physician, or by a technician who is certified by the Council of Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation, or who has satisfactorily demonstrated competence in administering audiometric examinations, obtaining valid audiograms, and properly using, maintaining and checking calibration and proper functioning of the audiometers being used. A technician who operates microprocessor audiometers does not need to be certified. A technician who performs audiometric tests must be responsible to an audiologist, otolaryngologist or physician. Baseline audiogram Within 6 months after exposure at or above the action level has been determined, the employer shall establish a valid baseline audiogram against which subsequent audiograms can be compared. Testing to establish a baseline audiogram should be preceded by at least 14 hours without exposure to workplace noise. Hearing protectors may be used as a substitute for the requirement that baseline audiograms be preceded by 14 hours without exposure to workplace noise. The Safety Coordinator should notify employees of the need to avoid high levels of non - occupational noise exposure during the 14 -hour period immediately preceding the audiometric examination. Mobile test van exception Where mobile test vans are used to meet the audiometric testing obligation, the employer shall obtain a valid baseline audiogram within 1 year of an employee's first exposure at or above the action level. Where baseline audiograms are obtained more than 6 months after the employee's first exposure at or above the adtion level, employees shall wear hearing protectors for any period exceeding six months after first exposure until the baseline audiogram is obtained. Testing to establish a baseline audiogram shall be preceded by at least 14 hours without exposure to workplace noise. Hearing protectors may be used as a substitute for the requirement that baseline audiograms be preceded by 14 hours without exposure to worplace noise. The Safety Coordinator shall notify employees of the need to avoid high levels of non- occupational noise exposure during the 14 -hour period immediately preceding the audiometric examination. 4. • Annual audiogram Audiograms will be conducted at least annually after obtaining the baseline audiogram for each employee exposed at or above an 8 -hour time- weighted average of 85 decibels. The Personnel Officer will maintain a record of all employee audiometric test records. This record will include: 1. Name and job classification of the employee. 2. Date of the audiogram. 3. The examiner's name. 4. Date of the last acoustic or exhaustive calibration of the audiometer. VIII. AUDIOMETRIC EVALUATION 1. Each employee's annual audiogram will be compared to his/her baseline audiogram by a qualified evaluator to determine if a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) has occurred. This comparison may be done by a technician. 2. A Standard Threshold Shift is defined by OSHA as a change in hearing threshold relative to the baseline of an average of l OdB or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz either ear. 3. In determining if a Standard Threshold Shift has occurred, an allowance can be made for the contribution of aging (presbycusis). The age correction values to be used are found in Appendix F of 1910.95. 4. The audiologist, otolaryngologist, or physician shall review problem audiograms and shall determine whether there is a need for further evaluation. The employer shall provide to the person performing this evaluation the following information: a. A copy of the requirements for hearing conservation as set forth in the standard. b. The baseline audiogram and most recent audiogram of the employee to be evaluated. c. Measurements of background sound pressure levels in the audiometric test room as required in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.95: Audiometric Test Rooms. 5. d. Records of audiometer calibrations. 5. If the annual audiogram shows that an employee has suffered a Standard Threshold Shift, the employer may obtain a retest within 30 days and consider the results of the retest as the annual audiogram. 6. Unless a physician determines that the Standard Threshold Shift (STS) is not work related or aggravated by occupational noise exposure, the employer shall ensure that the following steps are taken when a Standard Threshold Shift occurs: a. Employees not using hearing protectors will be trained, fitted, and required to use hearing protectors if they are exposed to an 8 -hour TWA average sound level of 85 decibels or greater. b. Employees already using hearing protectors shall be retrained, refitted, and required to use hearing protectors and provided with hearing protectors offering greater attenuation if necessary. c. The Safety Coordinator will inform the employee, in writing, within 21 days of this determination, of the existence of a permanent Standard Threshold Shift. A copy of the STS letter will also be sent to the employee's supervisor. d. The Safety Coordinator will counsel the employee on the importance of using hearing protectors and refer the employee for further clinical evaluation if necessary. 7. Persistent significant threshold shifts must be entered on the OSHA 300 Log if determined to be work related. 8. If subsequent audiometric testing of an employee whose exposure to noise is less than an 8 -hour TWA of 90 decibels indicates that a Standard Threshold Shift is not persistent, the Safety Coordinator: a. Shall inform the employee of the new audiometric interpretation. b. May discontinue the required use of hearing protectors for that employee IX. PROTECTION EQUIPMENT A. The Elected Official/Dept. Head shall ensure that hearing protectors are worn: 1. By any employee who is subjected to sound levels equal to or exceeding an 8 -hour TWA of 90 decibels. 2. By any employee who has experienced a persistent Standard Threshold Shift and who is exposed to 8 -hour TWA of 85 decibels or greater. 6. 3. By any employee who has not had an initial baseline audiogram and who is exposed to 8 -hour TWA of 85 decibels or greater. B. Employees will be given the opportunity to select their hearing protectors from a variety of suitable hearing protectors at no cost to them. C. The Safety Coordinator will provide training m the use and care of all hearing protectors. D. The Elected Official/Dept. Head will ensure proper initial fitting and supervise the correct use of all hearing protectors. E. Employees will be held accountable for not properly using and maintaining the equipment furnished. F. The Safety Coordinator will evaluate the attenuation characteristics of the hearing protectors to insure that a given protector may reduce the individual's exposure to the required decibels. 1. If the 8 -hour TWA is over 90 decibels, then the protector must attenuate the exposure to at least an 8 -hour TWA of 90 decibels or below. 2. If the protector is being wom because the employee experienced a Standard Threshold Shift, then the protector must attenuate the exposure to an 8 -hour TWA of 85 decibels or below. 3. If employee noise exposures increase to the extent that the hearing protectors provided may no longer provide adequate attenuation, the employee may be provided more effective hearing protectors. G. It is the responsibility of the Dept. Supervisor to ensure that hearing protectors are wom by all employees who are exposed to noise levels at or above an 8 -hour TWA of 90 decibels, or if the employee experienced a permanent STS, or has not yet had a baseline audiogram. X. EMPLOYEE EDUCATIONAL TRAINING An annual training program for each employee included in the Hearing Conservation program will be conducted by the Safety Coordinator and will include information on: 1. The effects of noise on hearing. 2. The purpose and use of hearing protectors. 3. The advantages, disadvantages, and attenuation of various types of protection. 7. 4. Instruction in the selection, fitting, use and care of protectors. 5. The purpose of audiometric testing and an explanation of the test procedures. Information provided in the training program shall be updated to be consistent with changes in protective equipment and work processes. XI. RECORDKEEPING Noise exposure measurement records will be retained for two years. Audiometric test records will be retained for the duration of the affected workers employment. Access to records. Employees, former employees, representatives designated by the individual employee, and the Elected Official/Dept. Head may request access to audiometric test records for themselves or the employees they supervise. XII. DEPARTMENTAL POLICIES Specific policies for departments included in the Hearing Conservation Program will be attached as addendums to this program. *XII. PROGRAM EVALUATION At least annually, the Hearing Conservation program should be evaluated by the Safety Coordinator using a Program Evaluation Checklist. After the evaluation, the changes /revisions to the program deemed necessary should be made as soon as possible with approval of the County Commission. NOTE: An asterisk ( *) indicates that a particular section is not required by the Hearing Conservation Standard. 8.