Search

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

Marc Bugg

Hazardous Waste Professional

I can't say enough how pleased I was with this course! Everything finally makes sense.

Kim Graham

Lab Manager

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

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

Melissa Little

Regulatory Manager

You blew the doors off the competition!

Stephen Bieschke

Facilities Manager

My experience with Lion training, both online and in the classroom, is that they are far better organized and provide a better sequential explanation of the material.

Robert Roose

Manager, Dangerous Goods Transportation

Given the choice, I would do all coursework this way. In-person courses go very fast without the opportunity to pause or repeat anything.

Ellen Pelton

Chemical Laboratory Manager

Best instructor ever! I was going to take my DOT training w/a different provider, but based on this presentation, I will also be doing my DOT training w/Lion!

Donna Moot

Hazardous Waste Professional

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

The course was very well structured and covered the material in a clear, concise manner.

Ian Martinez

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Spot and correct 4 of the most common universal waste errors before they result in a notice of violation during a Federal or state inspection.

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.