personal radios in the workplace

Question:

Is there anything posted by OSHA, DOL or any other authority that you might think of that would prohibit personal radios or mp3 players in an industrial workplace setting. This question seems to be getting out of hand and the only way administer a policy to be consistant would be a safety reg. stating no use of same.

Signed,

Tired of the noise


Answer:

Dear Tired of the noise:

Hello! Dr. Gorden responded to your question a few days ago, but I wanted to clarify it. (Let me know if you didn’t receive that one and I’ll send it again.)

The response Dr. Gorden used, which was one I had sent to a manager in another work environment, primarily pointed out the issues to be considered if a policy was going to be established. But there are no federal regulations that apply in a general sense to such things.

Some jobs have OSHA requirements for ear protection–musical devices don’t count. But I have researched it and can’t find an OSHA regulation prohibiting such devices. A policy about audio-entertainment devices (and that is the correct term, to make sure you include music, books and other things on tape or MP3 format) should come from the company involved, not a federal regulation.

There are jobs in which no such devices should be allowed ( a security job for example, where people need to be able to hear soft noises). There are other jobs where such devices might be useful (a boring or routine task that does not require close concentration, where music might help the overall work).

That’s why I wrote the information that Dr. Gorden sent to you, because it reminds managers that nothing about the subject is easy to deal with!

My general feeling is this: Employees are hired to do a specific task and they are paid to do it. Other benefits, including such issues as audio entertainment devices, are granted at the discretion of the company, and they should develop the policies about it.

My experience has been that the problem usually ends up being one of inconsisent enforcement of the policy–which means some supervisors and managers need to be reminded of their responsibilities!

I hope this assists you. If you have further questions, let me know. Best wishes.

Tina Lewis Rowe