Now Hear This: ‘Feasible’ Stakeholder Meeting Announced

Oct 07, 2011-

OSHA has announced a Nov. 3 meeting at its Washington, D.C., headquarters to discuss occupational hearing loss prevention with stakeholders. The meeting is significant because it fulfills the promise OSHA made in January 2011, when the agency abruptly withdrew its proposal to reinterpret “feasible administrative or engineering controls” to prevent hearing loss.

The plan was simply this: When judging employers’ controls, agency personnel would interpret “feasible” as everyone else does -– to mean “capable of being done,” as OSHA explained when it proposed this in October 2010. This alarmed some stakeholders who feared being forced to install expensive engineering controls or cited, even when PPE was being worn by exposed workers.

OSHA extended the comment period, received more than 90 comments, and withdrew the reinterpretation while promising to start an education and outreach initiative and hold a stakeholder meeting on noise-related hearing loss.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. EST and end at 1 p.m. The registration deadline is Oct. 27. To register, call 781-674-7374, fax 781-674-2906, or visit Faxed requests should be addressed: Attention: OSHA Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss: Stakeholder Meeting.

OSHA has decided not to allow formal presentations by stakeholders. The discussion will focus on topics such as the use of PPE, effective hearing conservation programs, and the use of feasible engineering controls to lessen noise exposures.