Safe Solutions

Addressing hearing loss

In October 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a proposed interpretation of the phrase "feasible administrative or engineering controls" found in 29 CFR ยง1926.52 of the construction industry regulations. The interpretation's purpose was to clarify the meaning of the phrase with respect to employers' obligations under occupational noise exposure regulations.

Recently, in an action that can only be described as unexpected, OSHA withdrew its proposed interpretation and announced future efforts with respect to preventing occupational hearing loss.

What is "feasible"?

OSHA's construction noise regulation requires use of feasible administrative or engineering controls to reduce worker exposures below established levels; if such controls do not reduce noise sufficiently, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE). The issue of what is meant by "feasible" has challenged employers attempting to comply with the regulation.