[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 194 (Thursday, October 6, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62093-62094]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-25904]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss: Stakeholder Meeting

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

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SUMMARY: OSHA invites interested parties to participate in an informal 
stakeholder meeting on preventing occupational hearing loss. Every 
year, between 20,000 and 25,000 workers suffer from preventable hearing 
loss due to high workplace noise levels. The purpose of this meeting is 
to provide a forum and gather information on the best practices for 
noise reduction in the workplace, including a discussion on personal 
protective equipment, hearing conservation programs and engineering 
controls. OSHA is holding this stakeholder meeting as part of its 
commitment to work with stakeholders on approaches to preventing 
occupational hearing loss.

DATES: The date for the stakeholder meeting is November 03, 2011, from 
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. est., in Washington, DC. The deadline for registration 
to attend or participate in the meeting is October 27, 2011.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in the Francis Perkins Building, 
U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-4437 A/B/C/D, at 200 Constitution 
Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. The nearest Metro station is Judiciary 
Square (Red Line). Photo ID is required to enter the building.
    Registration to attend or participate in the meeting: To 
participate in the November 03, 2011 stakeholder meeting, or be a 
nonparticipating observer, you must register electronically, by phone, 
or by facsimile by close of business on October 27, 2011.
    Electronically: https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm.
    By Phone: Please call 781-674-7374.
    Facsimile: Fax your request to (781) 674-2906. Registrants should 
label their faxes as: ``Attention: OSHA Preventing Occupational Hearing 
Loss: Stakeholder Meeting.''
    When registering please indicate the following: (1) Name, address, 
phone, fax, and e-mail address; (2) Organization for which you work; 
and, (3) Organization you will represent (if different).
    The meeting will last 4 hours, and be limited to approximately 30 
participants. OSHA will do its best to accommodate all persons who wish 
to participate. OSHA encourages persons and groups having similar 
interests to consolidate their information and participate through a 
single representative. Members of the general public may observe, but 
not participate in, the meetings as space permits. OSHA staff will be 
present to take part in the discussions.
    Eastern Research Group (ERG), Inc., (110 Hartwell Avenue, 
Lexington, MA 02421), will manage logistics for the meetings, provide a 
facilitator, and compile notes summarizing the discussion. These notes 
will not identify individual speakers. The summary notes will be 
available for review at http://www.osha.gov.
    OSHA will confirm participants to ensure a fair representation of 
interests and a wide range of viewpoints. Nonparticipating observers 
who do not register for the meeting will be accommodated as space 
permits. Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice, as well as 
news releases and other relevant documents, are available on the OSHA 
Web page at: http://www.osha.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office 
of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-
1999; e-mail: Meilinger.Francis2@dol.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most 
prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more 
than 25 years. Every year between 20,000 and 25,000 workers suffer from 
preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. The Bureau 
of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have 
suffered significant, permanent hearing loss since 2004. Neither 
surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss.
    On October 19, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal 
Register (FR) a proposed interpretation titled ``Interpretation of 
OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls 
of Occupational Noise'' (http://www.edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-26135.htm). The proposed interpretation would have clarified the term 
``feasible administrative or engineering controls'' as used in OSHA's 
noise standard. This FR notice requested comments on the proposal to 
clarify that the word ``feasible'' has its ordinary, plain meaning of 
``capable of being done.'' Comments were due December 20, 2010; 
however, in response to several requests from the regulated community, 
OSHA extended the comment period by 90 days to March 21, 2010. Over 90 
comments were received in response to this proposed interpretation. 
OSHA stated that it would review all of the comments before making its 
final decision.
    The proposed interpretation was subsequently withdrawn on January 
19, 2011, (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=19119). OSHA decided to suspend work on the 
proposal in order to conduct an education, outreach and consultation 
initiative on preventing work-related hearing loss. As part of the 
agency's

[[Page 62094]]

initiative, the agency committed to holding a stakeholder meeting on 
preventing occupational hearing loss to elicit the views of employers, 
workers, and noise control and public health professionals. The meeting 
announced in this notice fulfills this commitment.

II. Stakeholder Meeting

    The stakeholder meeting announced in this notice will be conducted 
as a group discussion on views, concerns, and issues surrounding the 
hazards of occupational exposure to noise and how best to control them. 
To facilitate as much group interaction as possible, formal 
presentations by stakeholders will not be permitted. The stakeholder 
meeting discussions will center on preventing occupational hearing loss 
and will include such subjects as the use of personal protective 
equipment, effective hearing conservation programs and the use of 
feasible engineering controls to control noise exposure in the 
workplace. The discussions will focus on topics such as noise control 
challenges and the best practices in construction, general industry and 
other sectors where noise is a hazard. The specific issues to be 
discussed will include the following:
     What are the best practices regarding hearing conservation 
programs?
     What are the best practices for, as well as concerns with, 
using personal protective equipment for noise control?
     What are the best practices for using feasible engineering 
controls?
     What are examples of companies that have effective noise 
control programs and what are the key elements of their programs?

Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the direction of Dr. David 
Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and 
Health.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on October 3, 2011.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2011-25904 Filed 10-5-11; 8:45 am]
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