Monday, December 16, 2013

85-3 Coalition Calls on Organizations to Adopt Stricter Exposure Limits for Noise

Thursday, Dec. 5, ASSE’s Virtual Classroom hosted, The 85-3 Coalition and Dangerous Decibels Program a webinar comparing the differences between OSHA permissible exposure limits (PEL) for noise and the 85-3 Coalition’s more conservative means of calculating noise exposure. Speaker John C. Ratliff, MSPH, CSP, CIH, senior code analyst for Code Unlimited, suggests that OSHA's current standards for occupational noise exposure, written in 1979, have fallen short, leaving thousands of workers vulnerable to excessive, damaging on-the-job noise. In this webinar, Ratliff introduces the 85-3 Coalition, details the differences between the two and stresses the need for change.

Current OSHA standards use a 90 dBA, 8-hour noise exposure limit with an exchange rate of 5 dB, which allows workers to work within an area with a noise level that measures 90 dBA for up to 8 hours, 95 dBA for up to 4 hours, 100 dBA for up to 2 hours and so on. The 85-3 Coalition sets its exposure limit at 85 dBA for up to 8-hour with a 3 dB exchange rate for its hearing loss prevention programs, and encourages others to adopt this strategy. 

According to Ratliff, the 85-3 concept, which follows the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value for noise exposure, offers more protection for those exposed to occupational noise, which affects more than 22 million Americans every year. Click here to read more about the campaign.

This webinar was part of ASSE’s Virtual Classroom presented Hearing Loss Prevention - An ASSE Webinar TRIPLE Header! Wherein two live webinars and one On-Demand webinar tackled some of the largest issues in hearing loss prevention. Watch for future blog posts with additional information from the Hearing Loss Prevention webinar event.