Workplace Noise Assessments

Exposure to high noise levels for extended periods of time can cause irreversible hearing damage. HSE Solutions can assess noise at work levels and advise on hearing protection zones and noise mitigation measures.

With the adoption of the requirements of the European Physical Agents Directive into British law. The new regulations, known as the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, impose new lower limits on employers.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, define the responsibilities of employers and employees within a workplace. The regulations are based on the 'daily personal noise exposure', LEP,d of an individual. This measurement parameters not only measures the level of noise, but also takes into account the length of time that an individual is exposed to that noise. In order to reduce hearing damage carried by noise, the regulations stipulate three action values:

Lower Exposure Action Value:
(a) a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 80 dB (A-weighted); and
(b) a peak sound pressure of 135 dB (C-weighted).

Upper Exposure Action Values:
(a) a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 85 dB (A-weighted); and
(b) a peak sound pressure of 137 dB (C-weighted).

Exposure Limit Values:
(a) a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 87 dB (A-weighted); and
(b) a peak sound pressure of 140 dB (C-weighted).

The limit value will take into account the reduction afforded by hearing protection.
In practical terms, if you cannot hear a normal conversation clearly at 1 metres from the speaker, the noise level is likely to be around 85 dB(A). If you cannot hear someone clearly at 1 metre, the level is likely to be 90 dB(A) or higher.

The regulations require employers to take necessary steps to reduce the exposure of employees to high noise levels in two main ways, by controlling or eliminating of the noise at source, or by the use of personal hearing protection, e.g. ear plugs or muffs.

However, the regulations state that the employer must take all reasonably practicable measures to reduce the noise exposure before providing personal hearing protection. It is in this area where the services of an experienced acoustic consultant are invaluable.

HSE Solutions consultants are considered 'competent' under the regulations and can provide the following services:

  • Workplace assessment survey in accordance with the Control of Noise Regulations 2005
  • Design and Specification of Noise Control Measures
  • Project management of large installations including noise action and management plans
  • Training of employers and employees
  • Calculation of required hearing protection
For more information on noise training, click here.