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I Need A Noise Survey and Noise Dosimetry for OSHA Compliance

If you need Noise Testing for OSHA compliance, dosimetry and noise testing as discussed in this article, call us at 973-366-4660 or email us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.

Written By: Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President
February 3, 2020; updated October 2021

I Need A Noise Survey and Noise Dosimetry for OSHA Compliance

OSHA requires a noise survey to determine if workers are exposed to noise that could damage their hearing. This is more than just taking some noise measurements with a sound level meter. A noise dosimeter is an industrial hygiene device that the worker wears for a full shift. This enables an accurate evaluation of a worker’s noise exposure as they move about the workplace. The noise dosimeter full-shift results are compared to the OSHA Noise Exposure limits. If (and where) there are any problems, some aspect of Hearing Protection, and Hearing Conservation is required and must be developed.

To satisfy OSHA’s requirement for Noise Surveys (29CFR1910.94 for General Industry, 29CFR1926.52 for Construction), a noise dosimeter is worn by a worker for an entire work shift when there is a possibility that employees performing similar tasks may be exposed to noise at or above the 85 dB (decibels) Action Level or the 90 dB regulatory level.

Noise dosimeters are typically worn on the belt with a line to a microphone clipped to the collar, but newer dosimeters offer a light-weight, option and are worn on the collar.

Dosimeters are not recorders. They take noise readings at ½ or 1 second intervals and accumulate the readings over a shift. Also, they take sound-decibel levels and will not record conversations between employees when they are worn. The final read-out from the dosimeter is then compared to the OSHA Hearing Conservation limit of 85 dB-A for an 8-hour work shift and the 90 dB-A compliance level for an 8-hour day.

Another critical aspect of a noise survey is a “Noise Map” of the work area. This can be performed throughout the space but particularly in areas that are between 85 and 90 decibels (dB), for these areas require the implementation of a Hearing Conservation Program. This involves the use of a hand-held Sound Level Meter (SLM). Measurements are taken throughout the work area around noise sources such as compressors, drills, CNC Machines, grinders, conveyors, vehicles, and other noisy equipment.

These noise map measurements can be helpful in determining what areas are contributors to the workers’ noise exposures and can also help to clarify locations where noise reduction may be necessary to achieve OSHA compliance.

Since many organizations have work shifts other than 8-hours (often 10-hour or 12-hour shifts), industrial hygienists use existing formulas to adjust noise level results to accurately represent the noise level during employees’ full shifts.

There are specific regulatory requirements in the OSHA Noise Standards related to:

  1. Program Requirements
  2. Hearing Protection
  3. Audiometric Testing
  4. Training
  5. Administrative or Engineering Controls (Required if the exposures are at or above the “Hearing Conservation” level of 85 dB-A/ 90 dB-A PEL).

Refer to the OSHA noise regulations mentioned above that can be found at www.osha.gov or contact us for assistance at 973-366-4660 or info@atlenv.com.

Our primary service areas for Noise Surveys are: NJ, NY, NYC, PA, CT, DE, MA, RI, Wash DC, WI, MD, MI, IL, VA, IN, GA, AL, NC, SC, TN, (Dallas Fort/Worth) TX, OK, DC, AR. We can service most other areas of the U.S. but additional travel charges will be applied.

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