Mining Publication: The Modern Evolution of Hearing Conservation Regulations
It is interesting to study the noise standards that have been promulgated in the US over the last decade or so. These regulations are likely to have long-lasting impact. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hearing Conservation Amendment (March 1983) continues to have influence not only in the workplace but in the debate over new regulations. Both the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulatory preamble documents state the desire to be consistent with OSHA. There has been some regulatory activity in the last decade which may give some hope for evolution and updating based on the wealth of science that has occurred during the last quarter of a century since the OSHA regulation was enacted. However there has also been some "back-sliding" toward more lenient standards. There were many subtle differences between OSHA and MSHA based on comments and a desire to clarify some of the vague aspects of the OSHA noise standard, and meet the needs of the regulated mining industry.