An effective hearing conservation program can prevent hearing loss, improve employee morale and a general feeling of well-being, increase quality of production, and reduce the incidence of stress-related disease. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommend an employer should administer a continuing, effective hearing conservation program whenever employee noise exposures are at or above an eight hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA. This is referred to as the action level.
An effective hearing conservation program consists of four parts – Part One – Monitoring Program; Part Two – Hearing Protection Devices; Part Three – Employee Training and Education; and Part Four – Recordkeeping. This Handout provides information on recordkeeping.
The purpose of OSHA recordkeeping regulations is to assist employers in recognizing and correcting workplace hazards by tracking work-related injuries/illnesses and their causes. Requirements in the noise standard include:
Employers should maintain an accurate record of all employee exposure measurements for at least two years. Modern microprocessor-based audiometers (hearing testing equipment) can save test results and download them to a computer database for analysis and archiving. But a “hard copy” should always be maintained, just in case.
The employer should retain all employee audiometric test records for the duration of the employee’s employment.
These records should 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; and (5) employee’s most recent noise exposure assessment.
The employer should maintain accurate records of the background sound pressure level measurements in audiometric test rooms.
All records required by the noise standard should be provided upon request to (1) employees, (2) former employees, (3) representatives designated by the individual employee, and (4) OSHA.
Employers who cease to do business should transfer to the successor employer all records required by the noise standard.
The successor employer should retain these records for the remainder of the periods described previously.
Employees should be encouraged to keep their own records.
With regard to recordkeeping requirements, OSHA has developed a “decision tree” to determine whether the results of an audiometric exam given on or after January 1, 2003 reveal a recordable standard threshold shift (STS). See 29 CFR 1904 for additional information on recording and reporting occupational injuries and illness.
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