Hearing Protection

OSHA’s hearing conservation program is designed to protect workers with significant occupational noise exposures from hearing impairment even if they are subject to such noise exposures over their entire working lifetimes. This publication summarizes the required component of OSHA’s hearing conservation program for general industry.

Potential Hazards:  

Some operations in the shipyard produce excessive noise, which may lead to hearing loss. Some of the loudest ship repair operations include:

  • Abrasive blasting (105-112 dBA)
  • Needle gunning (113 dBA)
  • Scaling
  • Grinding (108-110 dBA)
  • Carbon Arcing/Arc gouging (102-118 dBA)
  • Pneumatic pumps (100 dBA)
  • High-pressure steam cleaning
  • Ventilation equipment

Requirements and Example Solutions:

29 CFR 1910.95(c)Develop and implement an effective Hearing Conservation Program when action level is exceeded.

29 CFR 1910.95(a)hearing protection requirements.

29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1)Hearing protectors are required when noise levels exceed the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dBA measured as a time-weighted average (TWA).

29 CFR 1910.95(j)Hearing protectors must reduce noise to acceptable levels which may require dual use of ear plugs and muffs.

29 CFR 1910.95 Appendix B: Methods for estimating the adequacy of hearing protector attenuationReview the Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) for the specific hearing protection devices

    • Note: 5 dB can be added to the NRR of the most protective device when using both ear plugs and muffs.