Or mandate earplugs for DJs?

The Newspaper of Record suggests that occupational-health regulators are improperly dragging their heels about ordering night spots to reduce internal noise levels to which entertainment workers are exposed. [Cara Buckley, New York Times] Earlier here, here.


  • Some friends once took me to an establishment which was actually painful to my ears (like working next to a buzz saw or whining jet engine). I told them I would wait outside and remember to bring earplugs the next time.

    If OSHA insists that workers in such places be fitted with effective ear protection, good for them. The danger of hearing loss is real.

  • 29 CFR 1910 ( the OSHA law) applies to employees of these businesses so it’s a matter of following existing law. OSHA requires an 8 hour time study to come up with the noise level called a time weighted average (TWa). A TWa of 85 decibels requires the implementation of a hearing protection plan which generally includes hearing tests and hearing protection. It could also include rotating people into less noisy areas. Over a TWa of 100, you must use engineered control to reduce the noise, such as noise curtains. Cost at this point is not a factor; it must be brought under 85. For impact noise (stamping mills, etc) the threshold is 140 decibels with no TWa. The article cites noise readings but they were only for 15-20 minutes. OSHA requires an 8 hour average.