Exposure Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Act makes provisions for employers to make accurate sound measurements in their places of business, to determine whether the workplace is safe for workers; the sound level should not exceed 90 dB during an 8 hr work period. For sound levels above 90 dB(A), reductions in exposure time are required, with a limit of 15 min of exposure per day to a sound level of 115 dB. A further aspect of the Act is that no impulsive or impact noise should exceed 140 dB. Also, noise abatement in excessively noisy work areas is required. If a workplace is deemed excessively noisy, workers must be provided with safety equipment and be required to use it.

Besides the OSHA regulations and the regulations set forth under the Federal Noise Control Act (administered by EPA), several other federal agencies oversee noise control in related industries such as aviation, residential and commercial construction, all aspects of ground transportation, and mining. References to these regulations can be found in different volumes of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) that involve noise control.

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