Hear Today; Gone Tomorrow

Osha Expert Witness

Steven D. High, MPH, MS, CIH, CSP, ARM, CHST, CXLT, Safety & Health / OSHA Expert ::::
Case Synopsis: A 57-year-old manufacturing employee who worked in a Pennsylvania assembly plant for 27½ years filed a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss. The worker clearly had hearing loss based on the most recent audiogram data; however, hearing loss was also present in his initial audiogram when he started with the company many years ago. The employee worked in a paint department for the past 17 years of his employment.
The company had a progressive hearing conservation program which included periodic measurement of workplace noise by dosimetry, including areas that were traditionally quiet such as the paint department. Dosimetry measurements are preferred over basic sound level readings as they average direct noise exposures of an individual worker throughout a monitored working period.
The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law defines hazardous noise by referring to OSHA’s regulation on hearing conservation. The term “hazardous occupational noise,” as used in this act, means noise levels exceeding permissible noise exposures as defined in Table G-16 of OSHA Occupational Noise Exposure Standards, 29 CFR 1910.95 (July 1, 1994 – Section 105.4). This noise survey data confirmed that hazardous noise was not present in the workers’ assigned work area. Continue reading “Hear Today; Gone Tomorrow”