Noise Exposure Monitoring

Noise Exposure Monitoring

  • Date: Monday 21st August 2017
  • PDF: Download

Noise can be defined as unwanted sound and is commonplace in our lives.  Many organisations undertake work activities that involve noise at various levels, from offices to construction sites and factories.  But surely sound is around us all the time isn't it?  For example, when we are at home watching TV, decorating the house or going to see a band.

What makes noise and the workplace so special?

Noise, when experienced at work, falls under the Control of Noise at Work Regualtions 2005 which place duties upon emploters to ensure that personnel are not exposed to 'excessive' noise whilst at work and to make sure noisy work can be undertaken safely for everyone potentially affected.  Employees also have a legal duty to cooperate with their employer.

So how much noise is OK and when does this become 'excessive'?

This depends on some complicated mathematics but there is a very simple way to determine if you might be at risk from excessive noise.  If you have to significantly raise your voice to hold a conversation with someone standing about two metres away from you, then the noise level in the area is probably around 80 decibels.

This is the point at which action should be taken by employers to formally assess the noise level risks and calculate noise exposure.  In most cases it's not actually the noise level itself that is the main concern but the amount of time we are exposed to that noise level, as it can lead to cumulative and damaging effect.

Remember - our hearing is a very precious sense and we must not forget how important it is to control noise adequately to avoid permanent hearing damage from our work activities.

Source: Chris Prior, SSG

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