Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.95

(Date Unreadable)

Mr. Alfred H. Wilson
Star Route - Box 54
Gore, Virginia 22637

Dear Mr. Wilson:

This is in response to your letter of May 2, 1983, regarding high noise levels in night clubs and similar establishments. Please accept my apology for the delay in responding.

OSHA's regulations for occupational exposure to noise are applicable to all workplaces in the private sector, including night clubs, dance halls, and other places of entertainment. Employers are expected to take appropriate measures to protect their employees who are exposed to excessive levels of noise.

Due to limited inspection resources, however, OSHA normally conducts inspections only in "high hazard" industries, in workplaces where occupational safety and health violations are likely, and in response to formal employee complaints alleging specific workplace hazards. In addition, certain budgetary and statutory restrictions preclude the Agency from scheduling inspections in workplaces where there are only a few employees, except in response to formal complaints. Night clubs and dance halls are not classified as high hazard industries, and they usually have a limited number of employees. OSHA would give due consideration, however, to any formal complaint filed by an employee of such an establishment alleging a serious noise hazard.

Public exposure to loud music in places of entertainment is largely a matter of choice; patrons may complain to the management or take their business elsewhere if they object to noise levels. The exposure of musicians to noise in such establishments is also usually a matter of choice, as in the loudness of the music they play.

OSHA's standard for occupational noise exposure in general industry allows a level of 90 decibels (dBA) for an eight-hour exposure, with higher levels permitted for shorter periods of time. Although sound levels in night clubs and con