Available Now: 2023 Schedule of Hazmat & RCRA Training

There's No Such Thing as "OSHA Approved" Headphones

Posted on 1/21/2020 by Roger Marks

In an interpretation letter dated September 6, 2019, OSHA answers an employer’s question about the use of headphones in the workplace.

The employer requested clarification about whether headphones equipped with a built-in volume limiter are allowed on a construction site.

In the interpretation, OSHA gives some common-sense advice about the use of headphones in the workplace. While there is no specific OSHA standard that prohibits headphones on a job site, workers listening to music can create a safety hazard. If the employee’s music masks sounds like alarms, moving equipment, machinery, traffic, danger signals, or verbal warnings, the results could be tragic.

In addition, OSHA clarifies that “a portable music player is not a substitute for hearing protection…”

Are My Headphones OSHA Approved?

With respect to the “OSHA approved” or “100% OSHA compliant” claims found on some products, OSHA makes it abundantly clear that
the Agency “does not register, certify, approve, or otherwise endorse commercial or private sector entities, products, or services. Therefore, any such claims by a manufacturer are misleading.”

While this specific interpretation was a response to a question about OSHA’s noise exposure rules for construction sites (29 CFR 1926.52), OSHA also enforces hearing protection requirements for general industry workplaces. OSHA requires annual training for employees exposed to noise at or above an 8-hour time-weighted-average (TWA) of 85 decibels (see 29 CFR 1910.95).  

Long term exposure to loud or high-pitched noise can cause irreversible damage to employees’ hearing. In environments where employees are exposed to noise above permissible limits, employers should implement a proper hearing protection program that includes employee monitoring and notifications, audiometric testing, hearing protection, training, and recordkeeping.

For more information about who needs a hearing protection program, see Question of the Week: Hearing Conservation.

Earlier this month, OSHA increased civil penalties for violations of workplace safety standards. 

OSHA Safety Training

Check out Lion.com/OSHA to find safety training to inform and protect your workforce. From 10-hour training for general industry workers to HazComHAZWOPER, and more, Lion offers courses that are informative and easy-to-use. 

The latest new courses include:

Tags: headphones, hearing conservation, hearing protection, osha, workplace safety

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor made the class very enjoyable and catered to the needs of our group.

Sarah Baker


Lion's information is very thorough and accurate. Presenter was very good.

Melissa Little

Regulatory Manager

I love that the instructor emphasized the thought process behind the regs.

Rebecca Saxena

Corporate Product Stewardship Specialist

I was able to present my scenario to the instructor and worked thru the regulations together. In the past, I attended another training firm's classes. Now, I have no intention of leaving Lion!

Diana Joyner

Senior Environmental Engineer

Lion is at the top of the industry in compliance training. Course content and structure are updated frequently to make annual re-training enjoyable. I like that Lion has experts that I can contact for 1 year after the training.

Caroline Froning

Plant Chemist

The instructor was very dedicated to providing a quality experience. She did her best to make sure students were really comprehending the information.

Stephanie Venn

Inventory Control Specialist

If I need thorough training or updating, I always use Lion. Lion is always the best in both instruction and materials.

Bryce Parker

EHS Manager

I attended training from another provider and learned absolutely nothing. Lion is much better. Hands down.

Nicole Eby

Environmental Specialist

Lion courses always set the bar for content, reference, and practical application. Membership and access to the experts is an added bonus.

John Brown, CSP

Director of Safety & Env Affairs

The instructor did an excellent job presenting a very dry subject; keeping everyone interested and making it enjoyable.

Marc Bugg

Hazardous Waste Professional

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

The definitive 10-step guide for new hazardous materials shipping managers. Quickly reference the major considerations and details that impact hazmat shipping compliance.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.