Encourage Appropriate Protection of Employees from Injuries Resulting from Excessive Noise that Creates Hearing Loss and Oppose OSHA's New Interpretation of Economic Feasibility for Engineering and Administrative Controls
- AGC agrees that protecting employees from hazards, including those produced from excessive noise, is a priority in the construction industry. However, due to the transient nature of the construction workforce, it is difficult, if not impossible, to attribute hearing loss injuries to the most recent employer, or even attribute the injury as work-related. A person may be subjected to years of hearing loss, both on and off the job, and may work with numerous employers performing a wide range of activities. To arbitrarily assign this cumulative injury to the last employer simply because this was the alleged manifestation of the longer-term exposure is neither fair nor accurate.
- Oppose Unnecessary Burden, Expense and Confusion. Ensuring the protection of workers' hearing is paramount in the construction industry; however implementing regulations without regard to the nature of the industry would be an undue cost for construction employers nationwide without any improvement in workplace safety. Requiring each employer to test and maintain records of all employees for varying audiometric testing, including baseline and follow up audiograms would be nearly impossible with such a transient workforce.
- Outreach Programs Already Assisting Contractors. OSHA's Compliance Assistance programs should assist contractors with developing noise exposure monitoring programs and methods in which OSHA could assist contractors rather than implementing regulatory action. The construction industry has transient employees who work in varying locations, for varying employers with varying job duties, all with noise exposures over their career.