Hearing Conservation Program

The purpose of the Hearing Conservation Program is to protect Lafayette College employees from the effects of noise exposure. The program was developed according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard on Occupational Noise Exposure, 29 CFR 1910.95.

scope of the program

Employees subjected to an 8-hour time weighted average of 85 decibels (dBa) or greater will be included in the program. OSHA has established the following noise level exposure limits. If exposure exceeds the listed time limits, ear protection is required.

Duration per Day (Hours) Sound Level (dBa)
8.0 90
6.0 92
4.0 95
3.0 97
2.0 100
1.5 102
1.0 105
0.5 110
0.25 or less 115


Environmental, Health and Safety will conduct area and personal noise sampling on new equipment, or when there are significant changes in machinery or processes that may result in increased noise levels, and update the program annually. EHS will also assess the causes of noise in the workplace and ensure that engineering control measures to reduce noise exposure are implemented where feasible.

Department Heads will ensure that new hires and transfers who are included in the scope of this program receive initial and annual training on noise exposure; familiarize themselves with the program and the applicable OSHA standard; ensure that feasible administrative or engineering controls are utilized to reduce sound levels within the scope of this program; ensure that all employees in their charge are issued and wear proper hearing protection when required by this program; and hold supervisors accountable for the requirements of the program.

Supervisors will train all new hires and transfers who are included in the scope of this program initially and annually; request an initial determination of sound levels through EHS when employees report potentially hazardous noise levels; provide the required ear protection for employees; identify those people or functions that are subject to high noise levels; and schedule employees for their annual audiometric testing.

Employees will participate in annual audiometric testing; utilize and maintain protective equipment as described in hearing conservation training; complete medical exams as applicable; and refrain from trading or sharing ear protection devices.

Professional Health Services, Inc. (PHS) is a contracted service provider who will conduct annual audiometric testing and training in compliance with the applicable OSHA standard.


All employees who have the potential exposure to noise at or above a time-weighted average of 85 decibels must complete a comprehensive training program and be furnished with as much information as possible on hearing protection.

Employees will be retrained at least annually to keep knowledge current, and all new employees, or employees changing jobs/job functions, will be given any additional training their new position requires at the time of their new job assignment.

Training Topics include the effects of noise on hearing, the purpose of hearing protectors, and the purpose of audiometric testing.

Equipment list

Environmental, Health and Safety has conducted noise level testing on various pieces of equipment utilized by Grounds, Custodial and the Steam Plant departments.  Attachment 1 of the Program lists the equipment, sound level reading, and maximum exposure time before ear protection is required.