OSHA Essay Questions

1. OSHA uses a 5 dBA exchange rate, meaning that the allowed exposure time is cut in half for every increase in exposure of 5 dBA. ACGIH and NIOSH recommend a 3 dBA exchange rate because noise energy exposure actually doubles every 3 dBA. OSHA explains the use of the 5 dBA exchange rate as a means to account for the time during a workday that the employee is not exposed to noise, like breaks. Imagine you are a safety officer who has to choose which exchange rate is preferable to use at your organization. Discuss in your journal entry whether the 5 dBA or the 3 dBA exchange rate should be used for controlling occupational noise exposure.

Your journal entry must be at least 200 words. No references or citations are necessary.

2. Summarize the characteristics and abilities of sound level meters (SLMs) and noise dosimeters and how they can be used to evaluate noise exposures at a facility.
Your response must be a minimum of 200 words in length.

3. You have been tasked with establishing and implementing an effective hearing conservation program for a metal stamping facility. Noise monitoring shows that employees working in the press areas of the facility are exposed to 8-hour TWA noise exposures between 85.0 dBA and 89.0 dBA. Based on the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.95, summarize the requirements for an effective hearing conservation program and discuss steps to make the program as effective as possible. Please refer to 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(2) for the formula.
Your response must be a minimum of 200 words in length

4. Define the following terms associated with occupational noise:
a. Wavelength

b. Frequency

c. Sound Pressure

d. Decibel

e. Octave Band
Your response must be a minimum of 200 words

5. Three workers (8-hour work shift) were monitored for work in different areas of a facility using calibrated noise dosimeters. The results are summarized in the following table.


Time for Monitoring

Worker 1

Worker 2

Worker 3


3 hours

80.5 dBA

98.5 dBA

92.5 dBA


2 hours

81.0 dBA

86.5 dBA

85.0 dBA


2 hours

82.0 dBA

84.5 dBA

83.5 dBA


1 hour

95.0 dBA

83.5 dBA

80.0 dBA

a. Calculate the 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) noise exposure for each of the three workers.

b. Summarize which (one) of the exposures exceeds OSHA’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) and/or action level for noise.

c. Discuss what factors about the noise monitoring may have affected the accuracy of the noise measurements.
Show your work for all mathematical calculations. Please refer to Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.95 for assistance on how-to solve this problem. Your response must be a minimum of 200 words in length.

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