ASSE Joins Campaign to Improve Hearing Protection

The 85-3 Campaign is encouraging employers to adopt lower decibel standards in an effort to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

The American Society of Safety Engineers is taking steps to improve hearing safety for workers. Joining the 85-3 Campaign, the society will be working to make the 85 dBA (decibel) noise protection level the nationwide standard for hearing protection.

Currently, 90 dBA is the standard. In addition to lowering the acceptable dBA count, ASSE, along with other participants in the campaign, are pushing for this to be the exposure limit for eight-hour work days. Prior to joining this campaign, ASSE has worked to improve hearing protection standards. The society encouraged OSHA to focus on improving hearing standards earlier this year.

“On behalf of its nearly 35,000 member safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals, ASSE is pleased to join the 85-3 Coalition and looks forward to working with the coalition’s members to support the adoption of the 85-dBA average exposure limit for an 8-hour day measured with a 3-dB exchange rate,” ASSE President Richard A. Pollock, CSP, said in a statement on the ASSE website. “The appropriateness of the 85-3 level is widely accepted in practice by our members and many of the employers with whom they work throughout the world.”

According to NIOSH, extended exposure to loud noise can cause damage to hair cells in the ear, cells that send sensory messages to the brain. Once these cells deteriorate or are destroyed, they do not grow back.

By lowering the standard from 90 dBA to 85 dBA, the excess risk of developing occupational noise-induced hearing loss is also lowered from 25 percent to 8 percent.

More information on the campaign can be found here, on its website.

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