Companies and unions in disagreement over hearing loss rule


hearing loss at workplace
© K.Szkurlatowski/

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed an amendment to the rule concerning the recognition of job-related hearing loss, reports Bloomberg.

Industry representatives are, however, expressing their concerns regarding OSHA’s proposal. According to the administration, the possible change is aimed at clarifying existing requirements. “The proposed change will clarify that hearing loss must be recorded if work has contributed to it in any way, even if work is not the predominant or substantial contributor,” explains the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America.

Currently, if a healthcare professional determines that the loss of hearing is not work-related or has not been significantly aggravated by occupational noise exposure, then the employer is not required to record the case. However, another section of the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) says that employers must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an on-the-job event or exposure either contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.

The main concern from the employer perspective is that companies would need to record cases of hearing loss in their injury and illness logs that were not job-related. Employer organizations believe that the proposed change would not be a simple clarification, but rather a complete revision of the way occupational hearing loss is recorded.

Source: Bloomberg - Legal