OSHA Announces Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for Noise

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Region V office in Chicago has announced a Regional Emphasis Program (REP), a targeted outreach and enforcement of OSHA’s occupational noise exposure standard (29 CFR 1910.95) at manufacturing facilities throughout Region V (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

The Region V REP encourages employers to take steps to identify, reduce, and eliminate exposures to high levels of noise. The REP allows OSHA to conduct inspections of select manufacturing industries where hearing loss rates have been seen at higher levels than the national average and covers establishments in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

Industry groups targeted in the REP include agriculture, construction, and mining machinery; foundries; furniture and related product machine shops; general manufacturing; metalworking machinery; motor vehicle manufacturing; nonmetallic mineral products; paper, plastics and rubber products; primary metal products; printing; transportation equipment; and wood product manufacturing.

The Region V REP will involve outreach followed by enforcement. The initial outreach phase (that began June 1, 2021) includes letters to employers, training sessions with stakeholders, electronic information sharing activities, and news release broadcasts. The Region V REP enforcement activities will begin not earlier than three months after outreach is initiated and will include inspection and review of operations, working conditions, injury and illness records, and safety and health programs, with the purpose of identifying and correcting workplace hazards.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports nearly 1 in 10 people endure noise levels at work loud enough to cause hearing loss while 7 in 10 experience moderately loud noise levels. “Earning a living should not come at the expense of hearing loss,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator in Chicago, Mr. William Donovan. Further Mr. Donovan said, “Hearing conservation programs are designed to prevent workplace hearing loss, protect remaining hearing, and provide employers and workers with the knowledge and equipment to control and reduce exposure to noise.”

RHP Risk Management provides both stationary screening and personal employee/job specific noise assessments to determine and document areas and/or specific equipment used that emit noise levels of concern that may require hearing protection or an employee’s inclusion in an OSHA hearing conservation program. RHP works with management and your workforce to mitigate noise levels by offering reasonable and effective engineering control solutions to comply with regulatory levels.

RHP’s group of Certified Industrial Hygienists and Certified Safety Professionals provide environmental health and safety solutions for you, your workforce and all workplaces. We partner with our clients in managing, mitigating, and controlling health risks in their workplaces through the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of environmental and occupational hazards. Contact RHP Risk Management for an initial consultation or call (773) 867-6010.