Regulations of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on workplace noise are far weaker than those of other nations, according to a recent report in the New York Times.
Under current OSHA regulations, workers exposed to an average of 90 decibels – roughly as loud as truck traffic — require hearing protection if exposed for eight hours. Under guidelines in other countries, workers may not be exposed to 85 decibels for more than eight hours a day without requiring hearing protection.
Further, other countries have concluded that the risk of hearing loss doubles with every 3 decibel increase in noise, not the 5 decibels permitted under current OSHA regulations.
The basic reason OSHA workplace noise regulations lag behind those of other countries is the opposition from monied interests such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 2010, OSHA announced plans to require employers to soundproof noisy workplaces, but withdrew it after opposition from the Chamber of Commerce.
If you or someone you know have been exposed to harmful noise at your workplace in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, call a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Galfand Berger, LLP at 1-800-222-8792 or contact us online. With offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem and Reading, PA, we serve clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg and Allentown, as well as Southern New Jersey.