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OSHA Withdraws Noise-Control Proposal, Plans More Outreach

Jan 21, 2011

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on Wednesday that it will withdraw a controversial proposal that would have required businesses to meet extensive and costly noise-reduction requirements. IDFA, which filed comments opposing the proposal, applauded the move and urged the agency to focus on existing and proven solutions that would be much less expensive.

"While the design, construction and equipment in a dairy processing facility can create a noisy environment, the noise concern is easily addressed with ear plugs and other protective equipment," IDFA stated in its comments to OSHA. "The thought of pursuing re-engineering of our facilities for a problem that is under control is troubling, especially since we believe new engineering control solutions are not economically feasible."

The announcement came a day after President Obama ordered federal agencies to reconsider regulations that could hinder economic and job growth.

"It is clear from the concerns raised about this proposal that addressing this problem requires much more public outreach and many more resources than we had originally anticipated," said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We are sensitive to the possible costs associated with improving worker protection and have decided to suspend work on this proposed modification while we study other approaches to abating workplace noise hazards."

OSHA now plans to conduct a thorough review of the comments received and hold a stakeholder meeting to elicit the views of employers and employees, as well as noise-control and public health professionals. The agency also expects to offer enhanced guidance on inexpensive engineering controls that may help to reduce noise levels.


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