Understanding PEOSH noise standard limits

The Public Employees’ Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) noise standard limits employee exposures to 90 decibels (dBA) averaged over an eight-hour day.

The PEOSH Permissible Noise Levels in the chart show allowable exposure levels that are equivalent to a 90dBA eight-hour average. For example, someone exposed to 95 dBA could only be exposed for four hours a day.

The standard requires that all areas suspected to be over 85 dBA must be monitored. If noise levels are above 90 dBA, the district must first attempt to use engineering controls to bring noise levels below 90 dBA before relying on earplugs or muffs. No employee may be exposed to noise in excess of 115 dBA without earplugs or muffs that reduce exposure below 115 dBA.

If employee exposure exceeds 85 dBA averaged over eight hours, the PEOSH standard requires the district to provide annual hearing tests and a choice of free hearing protection. Staff members are entitled to get a copy of the test results, and must be informed of any hearing loss.

For more information

PEOSH Noise Standard