Maximum Permissible Exposure Level

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Definition - What does Maximum Permissible Exposure Level mean?

The maximum permissible exposure (MPE) level is the regulated threshold value to convey sound waves at a frequency pitch (peak cycles) between 85 decibels (dB) and 90 dB, following the time-weighted average (TWA) or 8-hour duration period. National jurisdictions carry different noise-level exposure rates within an 8-hour timeframe, accounting for a 3 to 5 decibel exchange rate or the sound-level intensity to keep hearing intact. 

SureHire explains Maximum Permissible Exposure Level

While the maximum permissible exposure level serves as an objective parameter to limit the cumulative sound pressure differential and address the impact of excessive noise, reported cases of hearing loss or impairment can still occur following the regulated MPE-based framework. As a result, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has advanced hearing conservation programs that cover ambient noise conditions, and include components such as free annual hearing tests and hearing protection aids. Employers are responsible for keeping an eye on noise exposure levels and concerns, assuming precautionary measures wherever possible to eliminate the source or to deploy controls such as shorter work shifts for those exposed to noise at the maximum permissible exposure level.

When configuring maximum permissible exposure levels, employers can draw on the equal energy rule, tabulating the acceptable noise-decibel (loudness) parameters and corresponding duration of exposure which, compounded by extended shifts and stress, leads to hearing loss or impairment.

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