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Hearing Conservation Program - Policy

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Policy No. RMLP135

Date: July 2015

Prepared by:  Loss Prevention Team













  1. The City of Portland is self-insured for Workers’ Compensation coverage.  Under City Code 3.15.020 G. Office of Management and Finance (OMF) Risk Management (City Risk) is responsible to administer this program on behalf of all City bureaus. Oregon statutes and administrative rules obligate the City, as the self-insured entity, to maintain loss prevention services for known hazards in the workplace. City Risk has the responsibility to:
    • Implement and monitor policies and procedures; 
    • Provide loss prevention services;
    • Provide program framework to ensure adequate implementation, monitoring and compliance of bureau specific policies, procedures and loss prevention programs for these workplace hazards.
  2. The City of Portland has a known hazard related to workplace noise in a variety of operational areas.  Therefore, both federal regulations and state statutes require the city to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards related to Occupational Noise.




  1. The purpose of this policy is to provide program framework to ensure City of Portland Bureaus’ compliance with applicable regulation, statutes, rules, policies, and procedures related to workplace noise. This policy provides:
    • Strategic approaches to protecting employees hearing related to workplace noise exposures.
    • Guidance to Bureaus regarding their responsibilities for compliance and to protect their employees from a known or potential noise hazards.
    • Demonstration of City Risk’s commitment to the OMF Strategic Plan goal related to being good stewards of city assets.     


Policy Statement


  1. The City of Portland takes reasonable measures to comply with the OSHA regulations regarding the protection of employees’ hearing.  
  2. Hazardous noise levels referred to in parts c) and d) below will be confirmed through area sound mapping testing and personal noise level sampling.
  3. When employees are subjected to noise levels exceeding those listed in the OSHA Standard 1910.95 and Table G-16 of OR-OSHA 1910.95 (b), controls will be implemented to eliminate or control exposure to hazardous noise levels. Those controls will follow the standard safety and health hierarchy for control of hazards, as follows. 
    1. For new operations, control of harmful noise hazards will be included as part of the initial design of the facility.
    2. For existing facilities, engineering controls will be designed and utilized, where feasible. Examples of engineering controls are:
      1. Installation of sound dampening or muffling devices.
      2. Soundproof rooms or control centers.
      3. Noise source shielding or enclosures.
    3. If engineering controls are not feasible, administrative controls will be defined and implemented, where feasible. Examples of administrative controls are:
  • Limit employee exposure through scheduling.
  • Rotate employees through a job to limit their exposure to harmful noise levels.
    1. If engineering and/or administrative controls are not feasible or they do not reduce the levels of hazardous noise to below those listed in Table G-16 of OR-OSHA 1910.95 (b), personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be provided and used to reduce sound levels within the levels of the table.
  1. In areas where the controls cannot reduce noise below allowed levels, and personal noise sampling has been conducted to confirm hazardous noise levels, Affected Employees will be included in a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP).
  2. City Risk Management has been designated to administer the city’s overall HCP.
  3. Individual bureaus adopt specific programs and practices to implement an HCP for their employees.



  1. This policy applies to all City employees who:
    • Have a potential workplace exposure to noise level averages greater than 85 dB for 8 hours per day;
    • 40 hours per week; or,
    • To periodic noise that exceeds 115 dBA.


Authority and Compliance


  1. Authority is provided under:
    • City Code 3.54.020, OMF Risk Management Division Responsibilities and Authority.
    • Division 1, Oregon Administrative Rules, Rules for the Administration of the Oregon Safe Employment Act, Rules for the Administration of Loss Prevention Activities by Insurers/Self-Insured Employers – General Requirements OAR 437-001-1005 through 437-001-1040.
    • Division 1, Oregon Administrative Rules, Self-Insured and Group Self-Insured Employer Loss Prevention Program, OAR 437-001-1050 through 437-001-1060.  


  1. This Policy is In compliance with:



 OMF Bureau of Internal Business Services (BIBS):

  1. Administers the HCP Service Contract


 OMF Risk Management (herein referred to as City Risk):

  1. Establishes and maintains city-wide policy and framework for compliance with Oregon OSHA’s Occupational Noise Exposure and Audiometric Testing rules: ;
  2. Provides leadership and consultation to larger City Bureaus related to HCP management;
  3. As needed to ensure adequate resources and technical expertise are available for OSHA compliance, provides consultation, leadership, facilitation, and a detailed level of HCP services to smaller city bureaus;
  4. Manages back-up vendor testing records; and,
  5. Monitors and communicates changes to the statutes, regulations, rules, and requirements.


City Bureaus:

  1. Establishes and maintains bureau specific HCP (including policy and procedures) in compliance with Oregon OSHA’s Occupational Noise Exposure and Audiometric Testing rules for their Affected Employees: ;
  2. Retains all hearing test records and employee training records electronically and/or in hard copy for each Affected Employee as required by OSHA Regulation;
  3. Is able to produce HCP information and documentation for audits and compliance inspections by regulatory authorities; and
  4. In consultation with Bureau of Human Resources (BHR), upon request, provides all required records to employees, former employees, and representatives designated by the employee.


Affected Employees:

  1. Fully participate and cooperate with their bureau’s HCP.
  2. Comply with the OSHA regulations.
  3. Take reasonable steps to protect their health and safety by using hearing protective devices, attending and applying training, having their hearing tested and following-up as directed.