How Rivanna Authorities Implemented Affordable Engineering Controls That Improved Worker Safety and Eliminated Enrollment in a Costly OSHA Program

Rivanna Authorities handles the water, sewer, and solid waste management for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Project Highlights

Rivanna Authorities LogoClient: Rivanna Authorities

Application: The client needed help getting in compliance with the OSHA Hearing Conservation Program (HCP).

Challenge: Full implementation of such a program is an annual expenditure that can be quite costly, challenging to implement, and difficult to manage.

Solution: Circle Safety sent their in-house Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) to ascertain the situation and provide the client with a viable solution.

Results: Rivanna Authorities saved thousands of dollars per year and eliminated the burden of maintaining an HCP program.

The Challenge: “Do we need to implement an expensive and cumbersome OSHA program?”

Rivanna Authorities wanted to know if any of their employees needed to enroll in an OSHA Hearing Conservation Program (HCP), including periodic noise exposure assessments, provision of hearing protectors, initial and annual training, baseline, and annual audiometric testing.

Full implementation of such a program is an annual expenditure that can get quite costly and difficult to manage. Though many industries choose to simply supply hearing protection when employees are exposed above the OSHA limits, the utility thought this was not feasible due to the need to communicate with visiting members of the public.

Rivanna turned to Circle Safety after learning that they would be working with a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) who would conduct the testing, develop recommendations, and write the reports.

A Certified Industrial Hygienist is someone who, through education, experience, and examination, has demonstrated comprehensive knowledge in all of the following areas:

  • Air Sampling & Instrumentation
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Basic Science
  • Biohazards
  • Biostatistics & Epidemiology
  • Community Exposure
  • Engineering Controls/Ventilation
  • Ergonomics
  • Health Risk Analysis & Hazard Communication
  • IH Program Management
  • Noise
  • Non-Engineering Controls
  • Radiation – Ionizing and Non-ionizing
  • Thermal Stressors
  • Toxicology
  • Work Environments & Industrial Processes

A Quiet Solution for a Noisy Problem

The CIH from Circle Safety immediately got to work. She conducted noise dosimetry and sound level readings at nine different locations and on nineteen of the 90+ employees over the next four days.

The sampling identified one worker who needed to be in an HCP and one location at which all of the employees would need to enroll in the program.

Thanks to the CIH’s prior experience in the mining industry, she recommended several innovative but inexpensive engineering controls (~$100 each) to reduce worker exposure at the location with high noise levels.

Results & Successes: Silence is Golden

After the engineering controls were installed and employees trained, the CIH resampled everyone working at the location in question and found that her implementation of controls was successful. Noise exposures were now lowered below the OSHA action level.

Thanks to this inexpensive engineering control solution:

  • No employees at this site were required to enroll in the HCP, saving thousands of dollars per year for the utility and eliminating the burden of maintaining the program on an annual basis.
  • Communication between the customer and the utility improved due to the lowered noise levels in the work area.

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