Washington State University
SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

SHOP / AGRICULTURAL WORKPLACE SAFETY
3.21
New 1-96
Reviewed 11-07
Environmental Health and Safety
335-3041

Hearing Conservation

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POLICY
University units are responsible for minimizing employee exposure to hazardous noise levels.
Exposure Threshold
Since exposure to noise which equals or exceeds the threshold of 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 decibels is potentially hazardous to hearing, University units must limit employee noise exposure to levels below this threshold.
Exposed Employees
Each employee exposed to an 8-hour TWA occupational noise of 85 decibels or greater, without regard to the use of hearing protection, is to be provided a hearing protection device, annual audiometric testing, and annual training. (WAC 296-817-20015)
Controls/Hearing Protection
Occupational noise exposures above 85 decibels 8-hour TWA are to be reduced using engineering and/or administrative controls. Where these controls are not feasible or insufficient, hearing protection is to be supplied to and worn by each affected employee.
Protection Requirements
Each affected employee must wear hearing protection when:
RESPONSIBILITY

Supervisors
Supervisors are responsible for the following:
Employees
Employees are responsible for the following:
HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible for managing the hearing conservation program. EH&S coordinates noise monitoring, audiometric testing and training.

Direct questions regarding the hearing conservation program to EH&S; telephone 335-3041.
Full Program
A copy of the full written program is available from EH&S.
Noise Monitoring
Contact EH&S for noise exposure assessment if employees must raise their voices to be heard two feet away.
Audiometric Testing
All employees covered by the hearing conservation program are required to have annual audiometric testing. Supervisors are responsible for providing EH&S with a list of affected employees who are eligible. EH&S arranges annual testing.
Training
Employees covered by the hearing conservation program (i.e., those who work in locations where noise exposure exceeds the exposure threshold) receive training.
Annual Training
Each covered employee must receive annual training. Annual training includes the following topics: effects of noise on hearing, use of hearing protection, purpose of audiometric testing, and access to records. EH&S arranges annual training.
Orientation
During employee orientation, the supervisor is to provide each covered employee with initial training regarding the use of and need for hearing protection.
Posting Requirements
Each department with employees in the hearing conservation program must post a copy of the hearing regulation (WAC 296-817-20015) on the safety bulletin board. Obtain copies of the hearing regulation from EH&S.