In this guide we cover the risk management requirements associated with the control of noise in the workplace, including:
Some definitions before we get started:
A noise which exceeds the exposure noise standard – that is:
The unit used to indicate the relative magnitude of sound pressure level and other acoustic quantities.
A standardised frequency response used in sound measuring instruments. It corresponds approximately to the human ear response at low sound levels. Sound pressure levels measured using this response, which is specified in Australian Standard AS 1269 are expressed in units of dB(A).
A standardised frequency response used in sound measuring instruments. It corresponds approximately to the human ear response at high sound levels. Sound pressure levels measured using this response, which is specified in Australian Standard AS 1269, are expressed in units of dB(C).
Ringing or other noises in the head or ears which can be caused by exposure to excessive noise. Tinnitus can become permanent and when severe may disrupt sleep, reduce concentration and lead to irritability and depression. Tinnitus may lead to increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. It can also affect general job satisfaction and contribute to adverse health effects, such as, stress.
During the design phase of new development projects, design reviews should be carried out to ensure that noise levels are kept at the minimum practicable level. Its far cheaper to make changes on paper than once you have started to build...
Similar reviews should be carried out for plant modifications.
Good reviews should follow the hazard and risk management process, in accordance with your process.
An assessment of the noise level must be carried out in any workplace location where noise levels are considered excessive.
The assessment takes into account:
The assessment does not take into account any hearing protection used by workers.
If required, continuous monitoring by means of personal noise dosimetry must be initiated.
Noise measurement and monitoring must be carried out on the initial assumption that personnel who may be exposed to the noise are not using protective equipment.
Where required by legislation, noise measurement must be carried out using the C-weighted peak sound level, and not the unweighted (linear) method.
Noise assessments must be reviewed and, if required, revised, if:
Where excessive noise levels have been detected, noise reduction measures must be implemented.
If the total elimination of the source of noise is impossible or impractical, the selection of control measures, to manage the impact of the noise, must follow the hierarchy of controls order of options, as follows: (Remember the higher up the hierarchy, the more effective and the more reliable your control is)
Control measures to manage and reduce excessive noise must be implemented, even in situations where Personal Protective Equipment is used, as failure to do so may constitute a breach of legislative requirements.
Engineering control measures can be applied to the source of the noise. These measures include, but are not limited to, the following:
Noise reduction equipment must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Inspection and maintenance records also need to be kept.
If engineering controls are impossible or impractical, administrative controls must be utilised. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Where the reduction of noise levels by engineering or administrative methods is impracticable, the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be used. This may include PPE such as hearing protection or earplugs, etc. There are many issues associated with the correct specification of hearing protection and this should be done by a suitably qualified WHS professional.
The process of assessment, implementation of control measures, keeping of records and review of control measures, must be carried out in consultation with the relevant workplace representative and the affected employees.
The information and training provided to personnel must cover, as required, the following topics:
For further details please contact our WHS Professionals who can assist.
The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own situation and requirements before making any decisions.