Washington, D.C. – Beginning Jan. 1, 2004, employers will be required to check a hearing loss column to record work-related cases meeting the new recording criteria established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The new criteria go into effect in 2003.
“The new record keeping standard requires employers to record work-related hearing loss cases when an employee’s hearing test shows a marked decrease in overall hearing,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “Data from the new column will improve the nation’s statistical information on occupational hearing loss, improve the agency’s ability to determine where the injuries occur, and help prioritize hearing loss prevention efforts.”
Under the new criteria, employers will record 10-decibel shifts from the employee’s baseline hearing test when they also result in an overall hearing level of 25 decibels.
OSHA also clarified three matters relating to recording occupational hearing loss in conjunction with the final rule: audiometric tests for workers in the shipbuilding industry; computation of a standard threshold shift for determining recordable hearing loss, and how OSHA will treat an expected increase in the number of recorded cases resulting from new record keeping definitions requirements.
Information on OSHA’s decision to delay the effective date of the record keeping provisions and clarification on recording occupational hearing loss is scheduled for publication in the December 19 Federal Register.