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It is the policy of the University of Pennsylvania in coordination with the Office of the Environmental Health and Radiation Safety to provide employees with a safe and healthful working environment. This is accomplished by utilizing facilities and equipment that have all feasible safeguards incorporated into their design. When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or when they are being initiated, administrative controls will be used, followed by the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The primary goal of the University of Pennsylvania Hearing Conservation Program is to reduce, or eliminate hearing loss due to workplace noise exposures. The program includes the following elements:

  • Work environments will be surveyed to identify potentially hazardous noise levels and personnel at risk.
  • Environments that contain equipment that produces potentially hazardous noise should, wherever it is technologically and economically feasible, be modified to reduce the noise level to acceptable levels.
  • Where engineering controls are not feasible, administrative controls and/or the use of hearing protective devices will be employed.
  • Annual hearing testing will be conducted to monitor the effectiveness of the hearing conservation program. Early detection of temporary threshold shifts will allow further protective action to be taken before permanent hearing loss occurs.
  • Education is vital to the overall success of a hearing conservation program. Annual training is required and is part of the employees' and supervisors' responsibilities under the program.

When the sound levels listed below are exceeded, reasonable administrative or engineering controls will be instituted. If the controls fail to reduce the noise exposure to within those listed below, hearing protection will be provided and used to reduce the sound levels to an acceptable level. In addition, OSHA requirements dictate that whenever employee noise exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA, slow response, a continuing effective hearing conservation program shall be instituted.

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