Skip to main content

The Recently Proposed Interpretation of Occupational Noise Withdrawn by OSHA

The Recently Proposed Interpretation of Occupational Noise Withdrawn by OSHA
On the 19th of January, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it is withdrawing its proposed interpretation titled “Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise”. This proposed interpretation would have properly clarified the term “feasible administrative or engineering controls” that is described in the noise standard laid down by OSHA.

“Hearing loss is caused by excessive noise levels and remains a serious occupational health problem in this county”, said Dr. David Michaels, who is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “However, it is clear from the concerns raised about this proposal that addressing this problem requires much more public outreach and many more resources than we originally anticipated. We are sensitive to the possible costs associated with improving worker protection and have decided to suspend work on this proposed modification while we study other approaches to abating workplace noise hazards”.

Many workers continue to suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high noise levels in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 125,000 workers have suffered permanent hearing loss since 2004. Also, in the year 2008 alone, more than 22,000 hearing loss cases have been reported. Michaels assures that OSHA is continuing to find ways to put an end this problem.