Hearing Protection:

Problems in the Department of Defense

LCD-77-308: Published: Sep 15, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 1977.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) is paying out millions of dollars for employees' job-related hearing losses. In addition, safety regulations have been disregarded and disciplinary actions lacking. A complete and well-defined policy on hearing protection is needed and installation officials should comply with all regulations covering the hearing program.

Hearing loss claims by government workers, about 95 percent from DOD, have doubled since 1973. Federal agencies have not agreed on a safe noise exposure level.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should have the Navy and Defense agencies, where applicable: (1) adopt an 85-decibel, 8-hour exposure level as the maximum for unprotected workers; (2) issue guidance on work area surveys that will result in better identification of hazardous noise areas; (3) agencies establish a monitoring system to make sure that the required initial and yearly hearing tests are given to all workers assigned to noisy areas; (4) adopt uniform criteria for deciding when engineering controls should be used; and (5) provide guidance on the need to enforce penalties for hearing protection violators under existing regulations and to carry out educational programs on hearing conservation.

    Agency Affected:


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