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OSHA Standards for Noise Exposure

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Act (passed in 1970), as well as the U.S.  governmental "Occupational Safety and Health Association". OSHA sets safety standards for noise.

Sound level DBA slow response Hours per day of exposure permitted
90 8
92 6
95 4
97 3
100 2
102 1.5
105 1
110 .5
115 .25

Dobie (2017) notes that "Hearing conservation programs (HCPs) mandated by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cost about $350/worker/year" He further states that "Model simulations suggest that HCPs may be cost-effective only when time-weighted average (TWA) noise exposures are ≥ 90 dBA."

OSHA quantifies permissible exposure limits as "PEL". The PEL increases by 5 dB for every halving of exposure duration -- i.e. 95 dB for 4 hours, 100 dB for 2 hours, 105 dB for 1 hour, as noted above. Thus a 130 dB SPL stimulus would have only a very short time frame allowable.

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Copyright April 19, 2018 , Timothy C. Hain, M.D. All rights reserved. Last saved on April 19, 2018