OCCUPATIONAL NOISE ASSESSMENT POLICY

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1 OCCUPATIONAL NOISE ASSESSMENT POLICY PURPOSE The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to MD Anderson employees who work in, or have the potential to work in, environments where noise levels based on an 8-hour Time Weighted Average are equal to or exceed 85dBA, following the scientific intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standard, 29 CFR , Occupational Noise Exposure. POLICY STATEMENT It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) to provide a work environment that protects employees working in High Noise Areas. SCOPE Compliance with this policy is the responsibility of all faculty, trainees/students, and other members of MD Anderson s workforce. TARGET AUDIENCE The target audience for this policy includes all employees who work in, or have the potential to work in, environments where noise levels may have an adverse effect on their hearing capabilities. All employees working in areas where the 8-hour Time Weighted Average for noise is equal to or exceeds 85dBA must participate in a hearing conservation program (HCP). Employee Health & Well-Being (EH&Wb) will work in conjunction with Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and each department requiring a HCP. DEFINITIONS Audiogram: A non-invasive hearing test that measures hearing thresholds. dba: Decibel readings on the A-weighted scale. dba simulates the sensitivity of the ear at moderate sound levels (55dB), which is more consistent with industrial noise. Decibel (db): The logarithmic ratio of the intensity of a given sound to that of a sound just perceptible to a person with normal hearing. Hearing Protection: The total of measures and devices implemented to decrease the intensity of sound that reaches the eardrum. High Noise Area: Any work area where the 8-hour time weighted average is equal to or exceeds 90dBA. Page 1 of 5

2 Standard Threshold Shift (STS): A change in hearing threshold relative to the baseline audiogram of an average of 10dB or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz in either ear. Time Weighted Average (TWA): The exposure levels observed and averaged for a normal 8-hour working day. PROCEDURE 1.0 Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) EH&S is responsible for all noise monitoring in the work area: 1.1 EH&S will conduct noise level testing to determine work areas requiring participation in the HCP. In operations or work areas where initial noise monitoring is at or above 85 dba for an 8-hour TWA, EH&S must repeat monitoring whenever a change in production, process, equipment, or control increases noise exposures, or at a minimum of every two (2) years. 1.2 The manager responsible for a suspected High Noise Area or an area where high noise will be generated should contact EH&S for a noise survey. 1.3 EH&S will conduct octave band analyses and other noise measurements to evaluate areas that do not meet the minimum requirements for High Noise Areas as necessary. 1.4 EH&S will maintain an inventory of High Noise Areas, exposure assessment reports, noise evaluations, and risk assessments. 1.5 EH&S will verify that all High Noise Areas post proper signage designating the area as a High Noise Area. 1.6 EH&S will provide a written report of results and findings to the employee and to the manager, as necessary. 2.0 Employee Health and Well-Being (EH&Wb) EHWB is responsible for all health care related aspects (audiometric testing) of the HCP: 2.1 EH&Wb will obtain baseline audiograms within six months of the individual s first exposure to noise at or above 85 dba TWA. Baseline audiograms must be preceded by at least 14 hours without exposure to workplace noise. Hearing protectors may be used as a substitute for the required quiet period. 2.2 EH&Wb will obtain annual audiograms on all employees exposed to noise levels at or above 85 dba for an 8-hour TWA. Audiometric testing will be performed and evaluated consistent with the scientific intent of OSHA s Occupational Noise Exposure Standard. EH&Wb will schedule audiometric tests during the individual s normal work shift and determine whether he/she has experienced a change in hearing relative to the baseline audiogram. 2.3 If the annual audiogram indicates that an employee has developed a Standard Threshold Shift (STS), an audiologist or physician will evaluate the problem audiogram to determine the need for further evaluation. The employee will be notified in writing of these results. 2.4 Employees with an STS will be refitted by their department with Hearing Protection devices and retrained in their use and care. Employees with an STS are required to wear hearing protection. Page 2 of 5

3 3.0 Training and Personal Protective Equipment 3.1 Training All employees participating in the HCP are required to attend annual training. Contact EH&S at (713) for training support. Training shall include topics such as the effects of noise on hearing; the purpose of hearing protectors with instruction on proper fitting, use, and care; the purpose of audiometric testing and explanation of test procedures; and when and where hearing protectors must be worn. 3.2 Personal Protective Equipment A. MD Anderson will make available hearing protection devices to all employees whose noise exposure is greater than 85 dba, through their respective departments at no cost to them. B. Use of hearing protectors in designated areas above 90 dba for an 8-hour TWA is mandatory. C. Hearing protection devices must have an adequate noise reduction rating. Contact EH&S at (713) for assistance with the noise reduction rating. Page 3 of 5

4 ATTACHMENTS/LINKS RELATED POLICIES JOINT COMMISSION STANDARDS / NATIONAL PATIENT SAFETY GOALS OTHER RELATED ACCREDITATION / REGULATORY STANDARDS REFERENCES Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Standard: 29 CFR , Occupational noise exposure. Page 4 of 5

5 POLICY APPROVAL Approved With Revisions Date: 01/09/2015 Approved Without Revisions Date: Implementation Date: 01/09/2015 Version: 16.0 RESPONSIBLE DEPARTMENT(S) Environmental Health & Safety Page 5 of 5

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