Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about earphones and IPods:
WE ARE A SHEETMETAL WORKSHOP. ARE OUR EMPLOYEES ALLOWED BY LAW TO WEAR EARPHONES CONNECTED TO THEIR IPHONES/IPOD ON THE WORKSHOP FLOOR?
Signed, Ears To Hear
Dear Ears To Hear:
You are indeed fortunate. Robert Byers, an expert in OSHA law and safety consulting, is our guest respondent to your question; he took time from his busy schedule to address your question as follows: It is not illegal for the employees to wear earphones connected to a music source, but I certainly think it presents major OSHA concerns. The OSHA Hearing Conservation Standard states that employees that are exposed to more than 85 decibels over a time weighted period (TWA) would require the employer to establish a baseline audiogram report for each employee and then retest them each subsequent year, and record any standard threshold shift of 10 decibels or more in either ear on the OSHA 300 log.
Then the employer would have to provide effective Personal Protective Equipment to dampen that noise. (after exhausting all engineering attempts to resolve the problem) I would suspect that in a sheetmetal shop, the noise level may very well already exceed that decibel level. The employees will add to that decibel level by turning up the volume to override the shop noise.In addition this additional sound would interfere with the ability to hear necessary auditory messages in the workplace such as fire alarms, machine warnings, forklift horns, etc. I appreciate the desire to make a more pleasant work place for our employees, but in the final analysis it is a machine shop which is a noisy and potentially dangerous environment, and OSHA demands that the employer provide a safe workplace for their employees. Customized Training & Development LLC www.customizedtrainingllc.com
Robert Byers, Guest Respondent