OSHA has maintained that industry must utilize engineering controls wherever feasible to meet the agency's occupational noise level standards. OSHA's very broad interpretation of "feasibility" has met resistance from the courts and from the agency's own review commission, which have tended to apply a cost-benefit approach. In part as a result of this resistance, the attack on OSHA's noise regulation scheme has been broadened to encompass the agency's requirement that engineering controls be given priority in abating occupational noise. The author presents the arguments on both sides of these issues, and concludes that OSHA 's construction of feasibility is erroneous. The author also finds that the agency's position on engineering control priorities is particularly vulnerable on the noise regulation question, and could endanger OSHA's entire regulatory scheme.
Occupational Noise: A Watershed Issue for OSHA,
32 U. Miami L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol32/iss3/6