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OSHA mulls stronger noise rules for construction

OSHA will hold informal meetings in March to discuss reducing noise exposures and hearing loss of construction workers.

The meetings, scheduled for March 24-25 in Chicago, will help OSHA decide whether it should add a requirement for a hearing conservation program to its construction noise standard similar to requirements that cover general industry workers.

“Studies estimate that 750,000 construction workers are exposed each year to hazardous noise levels,” says OSHA chief John Henshaw. "We want to hear ideas from those on the front lines on what can be done to reduce those hazards and protect the hearing of construction workers.”

OSHA’s current construction noise standards require employers to protect workers from hazardous noise and provide hearing protection devices to workers engaged in construction and renovation work when high noise levels are present.

Persons wishing to participate in one of the meetings must notify OSHA by March 8, 2004. OSHA encourages notifications be made via email to garner.christie@dol.gov. You can submit your notice by facsimile by calling (202) 693-1678 or write to: Christie Garner, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3718, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.

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