SUBJECT: OCCUPATIONAL NOISE EXPOSURE FOR RAILROAD OPERATING EMPLOYEES
ORIGIN: Moldex® Technical Services Department
DATE: November 2006
REVIEWED/UPDATED: July 2020
On October 27, 2006, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) completed their review and modification of the noise standard, 49 CFR 227, 229, issued in 1980. Railroads will now be required to conduct noise monitoring and implement hearing conservation programs for train operators whose noise exposure equals or exceeds 85 decibels over an eight-hour time weighted average, which is considered the action level. Additionally, hearing protectors are required when an employee is exposed to sound levels equivalent to an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) of 90dB(A) or greater in accordance with paragraph 115 of the standard. The previous standard limited cab employee noise exposure to certain levels based on the duration of employee exposure. The new standard also sets out additional requirements for railroads, including noise performance standards for new locomotive designs and models and for the maintenance of new and existing equipment.
The new standard covers Class 1, passenger and commuter railroads within 12 months of its effective date; railroads with 400,000 or more annual employee hours within 18 months; and railroads with fewer than 400,000 annual employee hours no later than 18 months after the effective date. The final rule became effective February 26, 2007.
Employees should be given a variety of suitable hearing protectors from which to choose. These hearing protectors are to be provided by the employer at no cost to the employee. Moldex® suggests the use of any of our hearing protection devices including foam and reusable earplugs, earmuffs and hearing bands. Moldex®soft foam earplugs are available in many styles and colors with NRRs ranging from NRR 23 to NRR 33. Our reusable earplugs are available in several different styles with NRRs of 25 and 27. Moldex® earmuffs can be collapsible, multi-position, or cap mounted with NRRs ranging from 24 to 29. Finally, our hearing bands are available in many different colors and pod types, all with an NRR 22.
Reference And Resources
WARNING: The information contained in this Tech Brief is dated and was accurate to the best of Moldex’s knowledge, on the date above. It is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it intended to be used in place of the warning/use instructions that accompany Moldex respirators. Outside of the USA, check with all applicable and local government regulations.
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