The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is inviting the public to participate in informal stakeholder meetings next month for discussions on reducing noise exposures and hearing loss of workers in the construction industry.
The meetings, scheduled for March 24 to 25 in Chicago, are a continuation of OSHA’s information gathering process that began with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Aug. 5, 2002, that addressed the issue. At that time, OSHA asked for comments on whether the agency should add a requirement for a hearing conservation program to its construction noise standard similar to those requirements that cover general industry workers.
"The comments we received in response to that notice were key in our decision to hold meetings so we can hear first hand from employers and workers in the construction industry," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Studies estimate that 750,000 construction workers are exposed each year to hazardous noise levels. 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."
Agenda items to be discussed at the meetings include exposure monitoring, audiometric testing and portability of records. 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.
The stakeholder meetings will be held March 24 to 25, 2004, at the Embassy Suites Hotel-Rosemont, 5500 North River Road, Rosemont, IL, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. both days. The meetings are informal; therefore, formal and written testimony is not necessary. However, persons wishing to participate in one of the meetings must notify OSHA by March 8, 2004. Notifications, including name, affiliation, contact information and the session you plan to attend, can be made electronically, via facsimile or mail. OSHA encourages notifications be made via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may submit your notice by facsimile by calling 202/903-1678 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.